Nocturnal Animals is such a multilayered film … I’m not sure where to begin….
Nocturnal Animals… from the beginning
So let’s kind of begin at the beginning. Nocturnal Animals is a neo-noir thriller based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Tom Ford (A Single Man) wrote, directed and produced the film, adapting the story into an interlinking journey of two tales: one of shallow reality and one of literary fiction, each mirroring the other… are you still with me?
I should divulge that I’ve been following Tom Ford throughout his fashion career for over 15 years now and finally got a chance to meet him in person, therefore this review could be tainted with devoted fandom.
Life Looks Perfect
Nocturnal Animals follows Susan (Amy Adams), an art gallery owner who lives the high-society life with her perfect “Ken-doll-esque” second husband. All should be perfect, as everything looks to be… from her perfect hair to her perfectly modern kitchen. Really, Amy Adams is dressed elegantly in Tom Ford throughout the film and is oozing style and sophistication. Life should be pretty good, however it isn’t. Hubby number two is going broke and is also a cheater.
Susan has become bored with the art she deals and now calls it junk. Her life of being surrounded by shallow dandies, who are more into appearance and keeping up with the Joneses than anything else has made her numb, empty and discontent.
Enter husband number one, Edward (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). Edward is a somewhat simple naïve Texan boy, a writer whom Susan in her youth, fell madly in love with. She later drops him since she doesn’t see talent in his writing. Edward seems to be the man who will never fit into the shallow reality that is her impending high-society lifestyle. Edward, now divorced from Susan, writes a novel and sends the manuscript to her to review… he even dedicates it to her. The novel which Susan finds extraordinary, totally envelops her and forces her to relive parts of their past, as well as the feelings Edward seemingly has about it.
The film’s opening is unforgettable
The opening of the film is an ode to the great filmmaker Federico Fellini and to all the full-figured gals out there… it is a film opening that you will not easily forget any time soon. Nocturnal Animals is art in so many ways. Many scenes are reminiscent of the Italian painter Botticelli’s art which depicted softly lit bodily curves and wavy red-haired women he painted. Be on the look out for an amazing performance by actor Michael Shannon, who’s character magnetically pulls you into the screen as a gung-ho gruff Texan sheriff on the hunt for killers.
Director Tom Ford filming “Nocturnal Animals” in his native Texas. Photo courtesy Focus Features.
A Psychological Revenge Thriller
For me, Nocturnal Animals was the ultimate tale of psychological revenge. I’ll go out on a limb and point out that Tom Ford is a native Texan from humble beginnings. I can only suspect that from a man who has broken so many barriers in fashion and film, when others didn’t believe that he could, perhaps made this film for the naysayers that he himself has encountered throughout his own career. A tale of revenge via his own success??… How touché.
Many who screened it came out with different points of views on Nocturnal Animals. Therefore, just like any form of art, Nocturnal Animals is subject to the interpretation by the viewer. My best advice is to go and see it for yourself.
Nocturnal Animals – Nominations and Awards
Congratulations to Tom Ford and the cast and crew of Nocturnal Animals for the following nominations and awards. We will edit this segment should additional nominations and wins come in.
Golden Globes Nominations
- Best Director – Motion Picture: Tom Ford
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
- Best Screenplay
SAG Awards Nominations
- Outstanding Action Performance by a Stung Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Shannon
- Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay – Tom Ford
- Nominated – Best Cinematography – Seamus McGarvey
Hollywood Film Awards
- Won – Breakthrough Directing – Tom Ford
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards
- Nominated Best Actor – Jake Gyllenhaal
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
- Won- Virtuoso Award – Aaron Taylor-Johnson
- Nominated Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Amy Adams
- Nominated Best Motion Picture
- Nominated Best Director -Tom Ford
Stockholm Film Festival
- Nominated Best Film – Tom Ford
Venice Film Festival
- Won Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize – Tom Ford
- Nominated Best Film – Tom Ford
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards
- Nominated Best Supporting Actor – Michael Shannon
- Nominated Best Adapted Screenplay – Tom Ford
- Nominated Best Cinematography – Seamus McGarvey