Based on Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony & Susan, the story follows a woman whose life is changed when she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband’s first novel, forcing her to confront the problems in her life.
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3 stars for Michael Shannon's deadpan detective whose fatalistic sense of humor is as dry as the dusty West Texas desert, 2 stars for the gritty Jake Gylenhaal father seeking revenge subplot, 1 star for the cliched Amy Adams relationship subplot which is as hollow as the wealthy characters.
Films with intertwining narratives (Magnolia, Traffic, Amores Perros) - and particularly those with contrasting tones - might as well have direct access to my bank account. Tom Ford's eye for design is no surprise, and he elegantly meshes these stories together. Aaron Taylor-Johnson finally fulfils the promise he showed as John Lennon in Nowhere Boy - spitty, intense, short-fused megalomaniacs are clearly his thing.
Drew me in completely. It's atmospheric as hell and often genuinely unnerving and intense. The storytelling is impressive, pulling you into the "fictional" story as fully as the "real" one. Impressive stuff and one that pushes close to being my favorite from 2016.
Rich White Lady is haunted by a Glamorous Sadness ("What, this old thing? It's not even real Poor People Sadness!"). Sensitive Guy she dated for a bit once has meanwhile spent a decade+ working his breakup-hurt into the creepy, misogynistic impetus for a novel (in which he sacrifices 2 women in a weird repressed revenge-fantasy & also gets to be a martyr). 2.5 stars to Tom Ford for somehow making that shit watchable.
Ford begins his second film with a promising allegory, but it all vanishes as soon as the first page of the book is read and then it transforms itself into an average thriller with not-so-astonishing performances. At the end, Nocturnal Animals has more guns than guts - and I don't mean the overall blood splattering of this personal vendetta, I mean taking a promising book and turning into real cinema.
The exploration of creativity and "what is art?" is interesting, but too often the film just feels hollow without much resonance. I wasn't overly impressed by Amy Adams, although I really enjoyed Michael Shannon's on-screen presence. The ending was a complete miscue.
I was completely absorbed in the story within the story on the initial viewing yet the frame story ended too abruptly, too patly for my tastes. Still, I'm still thinking about it more as days pass much more so than other recent movies. That is DEFINITELY worth something in my book!