Whilst I am still to see Tom Ford’s directorial debut, ‘A Single Man’ I needed no encouragement in checking out his second project, ‘Nocturnal Animals’. With a cast as strong as the one featured here I would have been buying a ticket regardless of the subject of the film. The film is a psychological thriller adapted from the 1993 novel ‘Tony & Susan’. Although I suggest that it’s best to know as little as possible going into this movie.
In the films opening seconds you’ll wonder what freak show you have wandered into and it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of audiences are completely put off. From the offset the film was fighting to win me back, however it accomplishes this just as fast as it initially lost me. I urge you to stick with the film as it’s really quite special. The narrative is very intriguing and the way in which this story is told is really well thought out. The film tells several stories and things had the potential to get very confusing, thanks to editor Joan Sobel though this isn’t the case and it could well be the best edited movie of the year. The stories told here are so atmospheric with many being consumed with tension certainly earning the film the thriller label. Thanks to this the pace is perfect, the film easily eats up its two hour running time and you’ll never want to look at your watch. Accompanying the narrative was a superb score by Abel Korzeniowski. At first it is reminiscent of the old James Bond movies suiting our characters stylish but outlandish quarters and as the film goes on it develops into something much more sinister contributing in volumes to the tension I’ve already discussed. This is the first work of Korzeniowski’s I’ve heard but he is certainly a name I’ll be listening out for from now on.
As I mentioned previously this film has a very strong cast. There are several supporting members involved here too which I wasn’t aware of until I saw them appear on screen. The likes of Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Jenna Malone, Micheal Sheen & Laura Linney all rack up acting credits in varying sizes of roles, all adding quality to the picture. However, the film has four main stars who are all brilliant and deserve much credit for bringing the film to life. Michael Shannon plays police detective, a role that could have been quite bog standard, although Shannon makes sure that his character has reason to exist. Aaron Taylor-Johnson appears like you’ve never seen him before, giving one of his most impressive and terrifying performances to date. The two leads are Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, both have very different roles to play and unsurprisingly they’re both fantastic. Gyllenhaal continues to showcase what a travesty his lack of an Oscar is and Adams upholds her current form in a subtle but powerful performance. The film is certainly full of stunning performances but the cinematography and look of the film rivals this. The entire time I felt like I was watching a more substantial version of ‘The Neon Demon’. So if you appreciated the technical aspects of that film but were craving a little more narrative, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ could be the comprise you’re looking for.
Without a doubt one of my favourite films of the year, Tom Ford has demanded my attention and he’ll forever be on my movie radar now. This film is crafted so well, each separate element such as the score, storytelling, editing, performances and cinematography are strong but what is more impressive is how well everything blends together creating a wonderfully deep, entertaining and thought provoking film.
Rating – 9/10
Question: Which films editing has impressed you the most this year?
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