Fashion designer turned film director Tom Ford’s second film is as sleek and stylish as you would expect but the thrilling tale is what draws you completely in.
Writer Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan was deemed by many to be too complex to be adapted into a film.
However, as soon as Tom Ford finished reading the popular novel he knew that was a challenge he had to take on, no matter the difficulties it presented.
Nocturnal Animals tells the story of art gallery owner Susan (Amy Adams) who is haunted by her ex-husband Edward’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) latest novel, a violent and sad thriller that she interprets to be a veiled threat.
The film is as complicated as the novel but writer and director Ford ensures that it is never confusing for the audience.
Three storylines are expertly entwined and you hopelessly become entangled in them from minute one.
Opening on a montage of nude, obese women dancing, the rather jarring scene immediately makes you feel uncomfortable setting the perfect tone for the rest of the film.
The story Nocturnal Animals tells is toxic, anguished and violent, but you just cannot help but be seduced by its dark and alluring nature.
It is certainly not enjoyable as such but it is hard not to relish its peculiarities and twisted oddities that we rarely see in cinema today.
Yes the pacing is sometimes off and the end is sudden and miscalculated but you easily forgive it of its faults as you become entirely gripped by the thrilling story.
Central to the film’s success is the extraordinarily exquisite performance that Amy Adams delivers.
Adams is an incredibly versatile actress. She can sing, dance and be jolly as the delightful Giselle in Enchanted but she can also be more serious as she has proved with her fantastic performance as a nun in Doubt.
However, in Nocturnal Animals she is simply breath-taking. Her character Susan is a rather complicated person but Adams is pensive, troubled, vulnerable and confident all at once in the role.
Adams is an expert at showing emotion through just her eyes and so the audience do not mind spending much of the film watching her character Susan simply react to the manuscript that she is reading.
In fact I could watch Amy Adams simply reading for forever.
Jake Gyllenhaal is also excellent as always but it is Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor- Johnson who really deliver stellar performances.
Still, there is no out-shining Adams who just utterly and completely owns this film.
Ford is a master of style in his other life as a fashion designer and so it is no surprise that Nocturnal Animals looks luscious on the big screen.
The landscapes are dark, cold and chilling and alongside a haunting soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski it makes you want to squirm in your seat mirroring the uncomfortable nature of the story.
Nocturnal Animals does have its problems but in a year of underwhelming blockbusters we relish its twisted nature, oddities and uniqueness.
It is an easy film to get absorbed by and lost in and at the end you will be left desperate for more.