Eppler: 'Nocturnal Animals' a riveting revenge story - FOX34 Lubbock

Eppler: 'Nocturnal Animals' a riveting revenge story

"Nocturnal Animals" is an art house movie that isn't afraid to challenge its audience, even right off the top with an outrageous opening credits sequence. After that, it settles in to being a pretty riveting revenge movie. 

This is the second feature from writer and director Tom Ford - the famed fashion designer from Austin. And though some of the characters look runway ready, and the picture is sumptuously shot, Ford is interested in far more than surface beauty.  

Adapting his screenplay from a novel by Austin Wright, Ford is telling a story within a story here. Amy Adams - so great already this year in "Arrival" - is an art gallery manager whose second husband is probably cheating on her. And she's still wracked with guilt about how her first marriage ended. 

When her ex - Jake Gyllenhaal, sends her a copy of a novel he wrote, she immerses herself in it - a story of a weak man she imagines as Gyllenhaal whose family is terrorized on a late night on the road in West Texas - in the Marfa area.The story being told in the book is an excellent pulpy noir with the great Michael Shannon as the law man working the case. 

As the book gets more violent, Adams starts to wonder if the novel is a veiled threat against her, and we are also shown the history of her relationship with Gyllenhaal.

The parallel stories gel nicely, but Ford gives a bit too much away. This is a movie as beautiful and riveting as it is pretentious - the kind of movie that literally puts the words "fragile" and "revenge" on screen in case we didn't get it. Ford's foreshadowing has all the subtlety of canon fire, but he has crafted an exciting, involving picture and it's a major departure from his quietly tragic first film, "A Single Man." His movies are as slick as his suits - and I can't wait for his next one. 

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