Should violent death look this beautiful?

Film: Nocturnal Animals

Director and Writer: Tom Ford. Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon.

Plot: There are three parts to the film: 1) Art gallery owner Susan (Adams) receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband Edward (Gyllenhaal); 2) the story of the manuscript, a novel called Nocturnal Animals, a violent crime and revenge tale set in the badlands of West Texas; 3) flashbacks to how Susan and Edward met, married and divorced.

Having achieved fame and fortune as a fashion designer, Ford is now carving out a second successful career as a film director. The three separate yet interlocking storylines could have been confusing, but he handles them with great competence.

My only gripe (and it’s quite a big one) is that Ford’s fashion-artist eye is so evident in every perfectly-composed scene. There is something chilling about such attention to how everything looks just-so.

Everybody in the film looks like a fashion model; even the scumbags look like scumbag models.

And, without giving too much away, even the corpses in one of the storylines are beautifully arranged, their limbs shockingly white against the blood-red sofa on which they are gracefully intertwined.

You might, like me, wonder if violent death should look this beautiful. You might also, however, like me decide that this is still a serious, and seriously good, film.


Cinema 2016: the films I’ve seen this year, and what I thought of them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s