Tom Ford surprised us with his debut film A Single Man in 2009, in which a professor deals with the death of his partner. This was an eloquent, detailed, and marvelous composition. In Nocturnal Animals, Ford astonishes us once again with painting-like cinematography, and stylish and elegant costumes that complete the visual experience. The sound is beautifully synchronized with the images and gives the story a powerful and emotional character.
Nocturnal Animals presents Susan (Amy Adams) – an upper-class woman who owns an art gallery. One day, she receives a novel dedicated to her and written by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). She starts to read it and immerses herself in the story. She feels as if Edward is trying to get revenge by depicting the story in such a violent manner. At the same time, reading the novel brings back flashbacks of her life with Edward. Because of the story that the book presents, she cannot sleep, is less focused, and daydreams. This is not only an effect of the book, but also of her current married life, which seems to be going downhill.
The vibrant emotion that Amy Adams depicts is powerful. Her eyes, as Edward describes them, are sad eyes that mesmerize the camera. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is outstanding as well. He portrays the middle-class and vulnerable Edward, who felt unable to save his relationship with Susan. Edward was once a student who dreamt of becoming a writer but struggled to find his voice. Now, he seems have found it. It could be said that the book’s is based on the feelings that Edward had towards Susan. This is visible when one understands the love story between both protagonists thanks to the flashbacks.
In certain sense, his book is a vengeance on her for not being able to support him and for choosing a financially stable life instead of him – among other reasons that I don’t want to spoil. The fear of both fictional characters is an element that guides the narrative of Nocturnal Animals. It is interwoven with other topics such as revenge, love, guilt, and doubt. Nocturnal Animals is an intense and elegant psychological revenge story that leaves you craving for more Tom Ford’s creations.
Cover Image: Screenshot Nocturnal Animals – Susan dressing up.