Directed by: Tom Ford
Run time: 116 minutes
The Lowdown: There’s a great pulpy, booze-and-smoke-filled film from 1998 called Judas Kiss, starring the voluptuous Carla Gugino and the indominable Alan Rickman, that gets everything right about the noir genre.
It was written and directed by the same guy who wrote Snakes on a Plane, which is both surprising and proves a point. You don’t have to be a film auteur to nail the noir genre.
That’s what makes Nocturnal Animals, the second film by fashion designer/perfumier/writer-director Tom Ford so frustrating.
On the surface, Nocturnal Animals is two movies intertwined as one. There’s the present-day story of an art gallery owner (Amy Adams) who receives a manuscript in the mail from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) and there’s the film-within-a-film depiction of the events in that manuscript.
The two stories at play never really gel. Adams’ character is wracked with grief over something she did in her past, but that reveal doesn’t rival the horrific fates of the two female characters in Gyllenhaal’s manuscript.
And then there’s the ending, which is both confounding, ironic and, honestly, not satisfying enough to tie everything together.
Ford’s second film is very well made, but it lacks the trappings of a typical noir to elevate it above being more than a mere exercise in genre filmmaking.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Amy Adams is hot.
Nudity – Yes.
Gore – Gun violence.
Drug use – Yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – The damage humans inflict on the ones they love most.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Bad Santa 2 (Broad Green Pictures, 95 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): I love Billy Bob Thornton and Bad Santa is hands-down one of the funniest, filthiest holiday films ever made, but maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here. Maybe one adventure with such a scandalous rapscallion is enough.
Grace and Frankie: Season Two
Manchester by the Sea
Beauty and the Beast (La Belle Et La Bete)