Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is shaken by her ex-husband’s (Jake Gylenhaal) novel. We’re thrust into that story as she reads it, and the story of Susan’s lifeless and cold art gallery reality.
Nocturnal Animals is close to a masterpiece directed by Tom Ford. Just starting with his direction, his visuals are immaculate. His shots of Susan’s life are very grey, and dim, when we’re thrust into the world of the novel it’s the western vibe of west Texas. He shoots these two worlds, which are polar opposites beautifully. As if they were both Tom Ford’s specialty. He could be the next big director in Hollywood.
The performances from Gylenhaal and Adams are outstanding. The novel character Gylenhaal plays, Edward Sullivan is tormented by events of his past and is on a path towards revenge. There’s no better actor play a character like this than Gylenhaal. He can convey that emotion like no other in Hollywood. Amy Adams, does the same for that cold, ice queen type. Her world is deprived of anything real, and her reading this novel is the only thing that makes her feel anything.
Armie Hammer and Michael Shannon are powerful in supporting roles. Shannon playing a sheriff in the novel, and Hammer as Morrow’s current husband. Shannon is one of the best working today, as the case with most of this cast. Hammer plays the equally cold, all business husband. Ford uses Hammer in the best possible way for this film. Aaron Taylor Johnson is the most surprising of the bunch. Playing a psychopath that torments Edward in the novel. He’s genuinely creepy from the moment he steps on screen, until the film ends. It’s almost hard to watch.
The story within a story format here is truly fascinating. Tom Ford pens a thought provoking script, and shoots the film in an equally inquisitive way.