Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford’s second dilettantish foray into filmmaking, is just as sumptuously crafted as 2009’s A Single Man, but it’s an altogether more misanthropic affair. Following a slow-mo opening that strives a little too hard for Lynchian luridness, we meet Susan Morrow (Amy Adams), an LA art dealer whose superficially enviable lifestyle is off set by her palpable world-weariness. Stuck in a failing marriage, she suffers a further blow when she’s sent the manuscript for a novel written by her ex Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). His harrowing crime thriller, which plays out onscreen as a counterpoint to the real-world drama, is clearly intended as an act of revenge for the emotional turmoil he suffered at the hands of Susan. A third strand reveals how a young Susan’s idealistic world view was slowly poisoned, in part by her waspish mother (Laura Linney). While the stylistic lurches between caustic neo-noir and sun-drenched Southern Gothic sometimes feel jarring, on a scene-by-scene basis this is a pure, pitch-black delight.
Nocturnal Animals | Directed by Tom Ford (USA 2016) with Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal. Starts December 22
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