Nocturnal Animals (2016) - Tom Ford
Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals is the type of pretentious dribble I feared, a tonally tone-deaf film which features a lavish aesthetic but extremely simplistic characterizations. Nocturnal Animals is a film which features very little in terms of introspection, yet it seems to think it is delivering something profound or thought-provoking, leaving it somewhere in-between, and at times a tedious exercise in overwrought drama. Featuring a facade of faux-emotion, specifically centered around one woman's loneliness and regret, Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals is a story that is at times unintentionally funny in its self-series demeanor, making it a film that can be hard to take seriously at times, due mostly to it featuring a main protagonist that garners little empathy from the audience. Nocturnal Animals is a story that is pulpy and unnerving, yet Ford seems to want the best of both worlds, stuck in a self-serious mindset, attempting desperately to tell this tragic, heartfelt tale of one woman's tragic descent in which she realizes that her whole life was a lie. The juxtaposition between the 'story within a story' and Adam's character's loneliness is clever at times, but per usual for this film, it's rather vapid in nature, with visual cues attempting to make the connection between the two characters, but little substance beyond that. While watching Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals I couldn't help but think that only Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson knew the type of movie they signed up for, each delivering performances that are kinetic and playful, performances that fit the pulpy nature of this story, a concept which seems to have been lost by the filmmakers involved. Good actors typically, Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams are atrocious in this film, both delivering performances that are so overwrought that I couldn't help but find the situations they find themselves in more funny than dramatic, which is quite a problem considering the extreme nature of the story in which these characters find themselves. Perhaps half the reason the film is such a glorious tonal failure is the disdain Tom Ford shows for his characters, as the narrative shows absolutely little empathy for its main protagonist, played by Amy Adams, almost gleeful in the end about her despair. Nocturnal Animals could have easily been a fun, pulpy thriller but it unfortunately attempts to be something more, instead delivering a rather laughably simplistic commentary on materialism which is one-dimensional and simply uninteresting.
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