Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Director: Tom Ford
Writers: Tom Ford, Austin Wright
DOP: Seamus McGarvey
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aron Taylor-Johnson

A wealthy art-gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, which she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

Amy Adams plays the character of art-gallery owner who is living an unhappy bourgeoisie life in LA. She receives a draft of the first novel from her ex-husband who has named it after his nickname for her- Nocturnal Animal. The film has three timelines- present times in LA, the novel which is set in present day-ish Texas and New-York of twenty years ago when they met. The three locations play up to their usual stereotypes. When she reads the novel and visualises its characters, it is Jake Gyllenhaal himself who is playing the protagonist. While critiquing his writing, when they were married, she had accused him off writing about himself. Ending of the film is such that you suspect that the novel is quite autobiographic for him.

It is an excellent watch even though you do think it is kind of shallow and hollow after you finish watching it. That is kind of fitting considering how the protagonist's LA lifestyle is depicted. She seems to think that it is his revenge on her and there is this art painting titled 'REVENGE' she gets disturbed by, which can be seen as a nod to this. But I don't think that is how the audience is intended to take it.

I haven't seen any of Tom Ford's other films and he made his name as a fashion designer. It indeed is quite stylish in the present LA settings. The opening credits is certainly a very memorable one. Performances from all concerned are excellent and it is always a delight to watch Michael Shannon in action. Some might accuse a certain flimsiness in the characterisation of the novel part of the film but I thought it worked well to keep reminding the viewer that you're in a novel within the film.

Rating: 4/5