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.

Train To Busan (부산행)(2016)

dir. Yeon Sang-ho. Super inventive and genuinely surprising zombie movie. Second time watching, and just as fun. Full of zombie movie archetypes (The jock, pregnant woman, selfish businessman, senior citizens), who always end up surprising you. Much more emotional than I expected, even the second time viewing. Still violent enough to be a turn off for some people. If the violence is not too much, the movie blends suspense and comedy perfectly. I think this movie provides a better social commentary on class struggle than PARASITE (2019) does. The young actress, Kim Su-an, who plays the hedge fun manager’s daughter is brilliant, her performance is second only to the wise cracking scarf wearing Sang-hwa. The special effects are perfectly judged, and never take away focus from the actors, something that similar American could learn from.