Fashion designer-turned-director, Tom Ford, screened his second ever feature Nocturnal Animals at the BFI London Film Festival this autumn. Based on the 1993 novel, Tony and Susan, Ford explores three essential themes; art, fiction and love.
I was beyond impressed by Ford’s directing. He has created an eloquent film which distinctively masters two very different worlds – fashion and cinema.
Susan Marrow (Amy Adams), an art gallery owner, receives a transcript of her ex-husbands novel, who she hasn’t been in contact with for 11 years. With an emblematic, vengeful narrative, the story, titled ‘Nocturnal Animals’ begins to haunt Susan. As she starts to question her life choices, the audience revisit her memories. There are three parallel narratives within this film; one being the present, another being the past, which shows the coming together and breaking apart of Susan’s marriage. The final being the novel. This film explores the violence of love and how the ache of a betrayal in relationships can lead to art. Susan cheats on her husband and aborts his baby without him knowing and Tony’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) revenge encourages the rage to put pen to paper and finally write an eerie thriller.
The cast have been picked impeccably to portray each character, considerably Amy Adams. She is chic and graceful with a sadness in her eyes that Ford captures in every single frame. The directors expertise in design and style shine through the use of his personal techniques, which portray each character through a creative structure. Susan is a painting, Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a story.
My favourite quote from the film is – “Our world is so much easier than the real world”. This sums up Nocturnal Animals which depicts a culture of wealth, style and knowledge, but not necessarily happiness.
Aesthetics identify where the film is with contemporary arts, while the narrative explores how art shapes life. This movie within a movie has style and suspense, with an unforgettable opening sequence. Ford is honest and a visionary and will leave you feeling somber and doused in his new fragrance.