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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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.
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!
A film consumed by surfaces above all else, and if you want a psychological thriller, you certainly won't be bored. With Tom Ford, the argument is always to what extent the film is shallow or a comment on shallowness—though a more interesting thread is how art gets meaning, contrasting art gallery absurdity with a neo-noir revenge potboiler that, for personal reasons, more strongly gets under our heroine's skin.
A missed opportunity to use the framing device of the book to deepen our understanding of their relationship, but instead the narrative was disjointed and muddled with no conflict or development to speak of. A dull caricature of an "art film."