Nocturnal Animals (2016)

dir. Tom Ford. The story is based on the 1993 novel ‘Tony and Susan’ by Austin Wright. Gallerist Susan (Amy Adams) reads an advanced copy of a violent sadistic novel written by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), while reminiscing about their relationship. The movie is a combination of scenes from the book as Susan reads, flashbacks, and scenes from present day where Susan goes to work, and interacts with her new husband. I really didn’t enjoy this movie. I hated watching Edward’s repugnant novel play out, with an overlong scene of a mother and daughter being abducted by a gang of rapists. I hated the way their fate was revealed, and the “aesthetic” presentation of that discovery left me feeling sick – not pity at the crime, but revulsion at the artistic compulsion to present the scene in this style. The narrative is a low-rent melodrama, with no redeeming qualities. There is a beautiful high gloss style layered over this unworthy material, with elegant moody cinematography, and a subtle swelling soundtrack – all of which deserve a better film. I’m glad I missed this in the cinema.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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