Friday, November 18, 2016

Nocturnal Animals Review - 2 Stars

Director Tom Ford has style. He melds his years in fashion design with his eye for the screen in "Nocturnal Animals." Amy Adams plays a contemporary art gallery owner, living in LA. Her elite world has plenty of problems, including money and a second marriage on the verge of dissolving. The film begins in one of Amy's gallery shows, featuring slow-motion footage of morbidly obese, nude women dancing madly, the better to shock us. Adams makes a good film noir character, jumpy and anxious. A package delivers the manuscript of a tense novel, recently completed by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal.) Over the course of the story, we learn Adams left Gyllenhaal after an affair with her now unfaithful second husband. As she reads the ex husband's manuscript, the story comes to life: A tale of late night crime & violence on the interstate. The story within the story includes the excellent Michael Shannon as a burnt-out lawman, and Isla Fisher as one of the victims. Fisher unnerves us further, as she obviously stands in for Adams in her ex-husband's violent tale. I love this kind of psychological thriller, even though they often don't quite work. Ford wants this story to shock and impress, and it certainly looks interesting. But the story within the story feels a little clunky, and the ending left me flat. Sometimes a revenge fantasy takes its revenge out on the viewer. Does it deliver what it promises? Creepy film noir. Is it entertaining? A little confusing, with a fizzle at the end. Is it worth the price of admission? A haunting disappointment.