Who would have thought that a fashion designer could direct a film? Well Tom Ford proved any naysayers wrong with his directorial debut A Single Man back in 2009, it was a beautiful and poetic look at a man’s struggle with grief and his planned suicide attempt. Quite clearly the influences of being a fashion designer could be seen through out the film as the characters were impeccably dressed but most of all Ford’s eye for detail was found in the stunning cinematography. So I was beyond excited when I hear that Ford was back in the directors chair for Nocturnal Animals.
The premise of the film (and the book it was based on Tony and Susan) is a rather intriguing one, it would appear that there will be a story within a story that has symbolic meaning for for both protagonists Susan and Edward (Played by Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal). What makes the storyline intriguing is that Susan was once married to Edward and after many years he has sent her a wholly violent and despicable novel that he has dedicated to her, and that he himself is written into the novel. What follows seems to be a psychological thriller, as perhaps this debut novel of Edwards has a more sinister purpose. So for the storyline alone I am rather intrigued, mix that with two insanely talented performers and you have a film thats sure to be satisfyingly brilliant.
The visuals are stunning through a beautiful juxtaposition of Susan’s sophisticated and controlled reality and the feral and arid landscape of Edwards novel, while this may have been done to simply distinguish fact from fiction (within the realms of the film/book that is) it is clear that the setting of the novel within the film has a wider meaning. It could be suggestible that neither landscapes bring the dwellers comfort, Susan is distancing slowly from her second husband and has sleeping problems, and Edward through his character Tony is exploring his deeply rooted issues about the ending of their relationship, is this a hint that neither is happy apart but it would also be too dangerous for them to reunited again? Also Susan’s confession of “I did something horrible to him” deepens this sense that all is not what it seems and that Edward is indeed out for revenge by using his disturbing novel as a way of playing on his ex-wife’s anxieties.
What is the significance of Nocturnal Animals, the name of Edwards novel and the fact that he used to call Susan that same very thing due to her insomnia? Is it perhaps due to the fact that predators prey on the weak under the darkness of the midnight sky. It will be interesting to see what depravity and wickedness is unraveled in this film as it has the potential like Ford’s debut to hit the audience hard with beauty and a study in human nature, it was sadness and grief in A Single Man so maybe Nocturnal Animals will show mans beastly and revenge driven side.
Nocturnal Animals comes to the UK on November 4th.