The second feature from fashion designer Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals is a slick and beautiful insight into a world of regret, heartbreak and glamour.
Nocturnal Animals navigates around Susan (Amy Adams), a successful gallery owner from Los Angeles, and her reaction to an unexpected gift from her ex husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). Throughout a period in her life when Susan is reevaluating her career and her happiness in her new found marriage, the gift from Edward, a novel he wrote dedicated to her, shakes and intrigues her. Settling in to read the words of a former lover, the film reflects and reenacts the events of the narrative Susan reads, simultaneously with the events in her real life; the concurrent ideas from one story bleeding into the next, overlapping and paralleling one another.
The novel tells the tale of Tony (also Jake Gyllenhaal), his wife (Isla Fisher), and their daughter’s (Ellie Bamber) road trip, driving from Texas to Marfa on an eerily deserted highway. Somewhere along their journey, the family bump heads with a bunch of hooligans looking to frighten and ridicule them as they travel overnight. In a disturbing play of events that follow, the novel proposes Tony as a fictional version of Edward himself, the fabricated story echoing a dramatised account of the pain he felt when Susan left him for another man.
Shot by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, the film is nothing short of stunning; the arrangement of images and their polished details providing yet another platform to showcase Ford’s talent as a designer.
The film is a stylish depiction of a modern day noir film, owed to both the sleek, carefully curated shots, and the heavy undertones of crime and revenge. Ford presents a thrilling experience for audiences, in a film that will have you gritting your teeth and holding your breath from start to finish.
Focus Features paid $20 million for global distribution rights after a heavy bidding battle in Cannes. This is the highest amount ever paid for a film at a festival.