Susan Morrow receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband – a man she left 20 years earlier – asking for her opinion of his writing. As she reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a mathematics professor whose family vacation turns violent.
'Nocturnal Animals' movie by Tom Ford is a beautiful, tense and complex psychological thriller film that combines a mournful romantic story with a violent murder mystery. It is written, directed and co-produced by designer turned director, Tom Ford and Robert Salemo. The thriller is based on 'Tony and Susan’ a book done by the epitome of the academic as a novelist, Austin Wright. The movie stars an incredible cast featuring Amy Adams five times Oscar nominee for films such as 'American Hustle', 'The Master', 'The Fighter', 'Doubt' and 'Junebug' and Jake Gyllenhaal an Oscar nominee for the film 'Brokeback Mountain'. The film was nominated to compete for Golden Lion and won the Grand Jury prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
Susan Morrow (played by Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner who also runs house errands, cleans and cooks, takes care of the house and pays the bill. Hutton, her husband is a WASP financier. Her ex-husband, Edward (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who she commonly refers to as the 'old bastard’ is a writer, and his need to write was one of the core reasons Edward and Susan divorced. Twenty years after the divorce, Susan receives a package from him to read his first book, 'Nocturnal Animals'. At first, she’s excited and interprets the gesture as nice and flattery but later as a threat and a possible revenge tale. In that story, Tony Hastings, a professor allows himself to be caught up in a futile duet with another car whose occupants rape and kill his wife and daughter. Disappointed by his inability to help his family, Hastings is manipulated by a detective into revenge.
Amy Adams play Susan Morrow an art gallery owner and the ex-wife to a writer Edward who receives a letter from him to read through his first novel Nocturnal animals. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of Edward, the ex-husband to Susan Morrow and also the role of Tony Hastings in the story within the story. Michael Shannon plays Bobby Andes the detective who leads the search for Tony’s wife and child. Isla Fisher plays Laura Hastings the wife to Tony Hastings and Ellie Bamber plays India Hasting, their daughter. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is cast as Ray Marcus the leader of the psychopathic serial killers who murder Laura and India Hasting, Armie Hammer plays Hutton Morrow, Karl Glusman is cast as Lou and Robert Aramayo as Turk.
Ellie Bamber, Tom Ford, Amy Adams, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Robert Salerno and Jake Gyllenhaal at the 73rd Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 2, 2016 in Venice, Italy
Smoke house pictures together with Grant Heslov and George Clooney announced that they would be producing the thriller 'Nocturnal Animals' on March 14, 2015. Tom Ford was set to be the director working with his own script based on Austin Wright’s 1993 novel 'Tony and Susan’. On the following day, Jake Gyllenhaal was to star in the movie playing the lead role of Edward/ Tony Hastings, while Amy Adam was talked to taking the lead female role. Focus features acquired the USA distribution rights on May 17, 2015, while Universal Pictures was to handle international distribution. The Focus deal was made with $20 million making it one of the biggest deals in the last few years and the biggest in the Cannes Film Festival in 2015.
Tom Ford direct his second film after 'A Single Man'(2009)
The 'Nocturnal Animals' team was spotted filming a scene in Santa Clarita, California. Watchers by claimed that Jake Gyllenhaal looked quite terrifying as he was seen in tattered clothing dragging himself through the field while also holding a handgun. The 34-year-old good looks were fully masked behind possibly cosmetically applied burns, sores, and cuts and with excessive surrounding blood.
According to one of its stars, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays a Texan psychopath, the filming was quite toxic, but the ensemble cast researched and practiced enough for them to fit into their roles perfectly.
Tom Ford and Jake Gyllenhaal on the set
The thriller has already had its world premiere which took place on September 2, 2016 at the Venice Film Festival. The film was also displayed on September 9, 2016 at Toronto International Film Festival. On October 14, the film was screened at the BFI London Film Festival. The film is set to be released on to theaters on November 18, 2016.
Amy Adams at the Premiere of 'Nocturnal Animals' at Princess of Wales Theatre on Toronto International Film Festival 2016, September 11, 2016 Canada
The film has received quite a critical acclaim from critics which allowed it to be premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The performances of Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shanon, Taylor-Johnson and Linney have received praise. On rotten tomatoes, the film has scored 7.5/10 which is an 80% approval rating based on some thirty-five reviews. The critical consensus on the site reads that the film is well acted and pleasing for the eye. Tom Ford’s distinctive narrative and visual skills are further praised. On another site, the meta critics, the film has a 75% rating which is based on 14 reviews from critics, the sites consensus reads that there are generally favorable reviews.
Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal have been cast in another project called 'Ezekiel Moss' which would have been directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, the project was scrapped after Hoffman's death in 2014.
Susan Morrow a female version of Tom Ford?
In an interview with the Guardian, Tom Ford states that Susan Morrow’s character is like that of his own. He notes that he lives in the same world that she does, surrounded by the kind of people that surround her. He further notes that s a few years back, he experienced a midlife crisis that made him think much about his younger days and a lot of other people’s younger years. People who think that they are getting all they can, moving forward in their careers, finding love, buying apartments and after all that asking themselves, 'Is that all there is?'
The controversy surrounding the movie opening
The thriller opens with a tableau of obese, nude women who dance in slow motion as shimmers flutter around them. When asked about the women by the Vulture, Ford states that his original intention was for the women to represent America as it is, gluttonous, sad, aging, tired and overfed. But then Ford goes on to state that after he worked with the women during the shoot, his mind changed as he fell in love with how they were. He notes that he found them beautiful, joyous and happy to be there and felt guilty of his original intentions.
With the open questions, rich imagery and the story within the film structure, this movie is likely to always be picked by students for years to come. In fact, the movie presents a visceral dark way to share a heartbreak.
Get your first look at 'Nocturnal Animals'