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Tom Ford's NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Discussion

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

post #2 of 30
I've heard mixed things about this, but I'm still eager to see it.
post #3 of 30

I really liked A Single Man, and this is a very nicely put together trailer. Having read a summary of the plot, the narrative structure sounds like it has the potential to make for an intriguing film.

post #4 of 30

Really looking forward to this, as that was a hell of a trailer.  Reminded me of the Coen brothers by way of Pedro Almodovar or something.

post #5 of 30
This really is phenomenal. But what's with the opening credits? Is it just to bug the audience out? I liked the surealism, but opening without context like that, they completely lost most the audience there and then. People were walking out. While there is thrill being sat in a theatre with an audience that just turn on the film (see Springbreakers, Cosmopolis) I don't get the artistic purpose of it.
post #6 of 30

Went to a screening and Q&A w/ Tom Ford, and he said the opening credits were

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
women who had completely rejected everything that society said about them and were free and happy and had embraced themselves in a way that Amy Adams' character is not. Hence... fat, old burlesque dancers.

 

Anyway, this was a lot of fun. Really tremendous suspenseful atmosphere throughout, keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's wildly ambitious and I don't know if it fully holds together, but it's definitely worth seeing. And in a cast of great performances (including a surprisingly threatening Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Michael Shannon steals it like a goddamn champion. And shout-out to the people at my screening who laughed in delight (and the one dude who actually briefly started applauding) at his first shot in the film. I clapped along in my heart.

post #7 of 30

Just got out of this. I think Dent is correct when he calls it "wildly ambitious, not sure if it fully holds together, but worth seeing." America's Greatest Living Actor Michael Shannon should definitely be in the Oscars conversation - I was surprised how different he was physically here, gaunt and lean as opposed to his usual broad-shoulders and hulking manner. 

I keep thinking the best way to describe it is "a hot mess." The parts are very, very pretty, and the performances are excellent. I also highly admired a lot of the technical features - the cinematography, the costumes of course, the set design, and the music. I really admire Ford trying to do something tonally different from A SINGLE MAN, and sort of riff on Hitch/De Palma/Vertigo. 

 

That ending, though. What up with that?

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 

If luck and my work schedule is on my side, I should be seeing this Tuesday or Wednesday. Quite excited.

post #9 of 30
I just saw this at the AFI theater in Silver Spring, Md., and I'd give about an 8/10 overall. First off, best opening shot since Lost in Translation[/l]! Secondly, Adams, Gyllenhall, Shannon, and Taylor-Johnson are are all fucking all-stars in this. Third, I found the Cormac-McCarthy-esque, Texas-at-its-harshest story-within-a-story absolutely gripping, to the point of being painful to watch. It seemed like Ford took the contrast between "artsy-farsty L.A. phoney" vs. "sincere Texas manhood" a bit too far. But I remained riveted (just as Susan herself did) throughout. It ends on an ambiguous note, but I took it as expressing "you can't turn back the clock." Big fan of A Single Man, been waiting anxiously for his next effort, and I'm excited to see what he's got next. (Hopefully we won't have to wait another 5+ years.)
post #10 of 30
Also, it's the 2nd Amy Adams movie to make me glad they didn't use obnoxious make-up to show her aging. (Suspension of disbelief is a thing!)

Also also, I think it's the first movie to take advantage of the verisimilitude of Amy Adams and Isla Fischer.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curiosity Cosby View Post

I think it's the first movie to take advantage of the verisimilitude of Amy Adams and Isla Fischer.

Not sure 'verisimilitude' is the right word there, unless you're saying they're notably realistic screen presences.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Not sure 'verisimilitude' is the right word there, unless you're saying they're notably realistic screen presences.

Yeah, "physical similarity" is what I was looking for. Though more to my point, it's interesting that as Susan is reading the book, she imagines Tony as her ex-husband, but Tony's wife as someone who just looks a lot like her. Subconsciously dissociating herself from a story she knows is commenting on her relationship with Edward?
post #13 of 30

Haven't seen it yet, but I found out last week that a co-worker's aunt is one of the obese women in the opening. 400 pounds, left Tennessee to "enter showbiz." Follow your dreams, folks.

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
I greatly enjoyed this and think Ford accomplishes something rarely seen in that the metatextual narrative really plays. Despite the intersecting narratives of past, present and fiction, the latter remains completely engrossing from beginning to end. In all of its ambition, I'm not sure if the ending lands, but it's gorgeously bitter in all its anticlimactic glory.
post #15 of 30

Aaron Taylor-Johnson just won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Golden Globes for this, overcoming the daunting challenge of not even being the best supporting actor in this particular movie.

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 

Oh, are the Golden Globes on? Jesus, I guess that confirms how far my interest in that sort of thing has fallen. At any rate, he's still pretty good in the movie.

post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny View Post
 

Oh, are the Golden Globes on? Jesus, I guess that confirms how far my interest in that sort of thing has fallen. At any rate, he's still pretty good in the movie.


I'm not watching them (Fallon's hosting which, ugh) - just saw the news on Twitter.

 

And yeah, he's good, but - Michael Shannon!

 

It's also really, really weird, because up until this point in the race Mahershala Ali has been absolutely dominating for Moonlight, and would be an extremely deserving winner.

post #18 of 30

Any supporting actor award for this should have gone to Shannon first, and then anyone else in any movie ever. 

post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curiosity Cosby View Post


Also also, I think it's the first movie to take advantage of the verisimilitude of Amy Adams and Isla Fischer.

Yeah. Ive always mistook to two of them for each other, so I had laugh when I found out that Isla Fischer was Adam's double in the movie.

I thought this was fucking fantastic.

On the ending: I think it works as the perfect way to end Susan's arc, namely to reject her attempts at reconciliation and go back to her days as a optimistic young girl. Its devasting how mundane it is, since i was expecting something far darker.
post #20 of 30

*grits teeth*

 

mmmm, it's such a bizarro mess.  There are some really interested ideas at play here, but it feels like a movie hopping on one leg that never quite reaches its destination.  Unless it's destination was to confuse the shit out of me.

 

I'm still trying to figure out what the fuck the opening had to do with... anything at all.

 

Ending was hilarious.  Not sure what it means but I laughed.  Michael fucking Shannon.  Just a delight to watch.  He should be headlining more and bigger films.  But God this movie... so weird.  On the one hand I was riveted by the book's story, on the other Amy Adams is just kind of wallpaper... I'm still not exactly sure what the point of her storyline was.  Her relationship with Gyllenhaal wasn't all that fleshed out, so any parallels between them and the story she's reading were lost on me.  It's like the book is telling a hidden narrative only she understands, since she's so caught up in it.  I suppose him being "weak" ties into it, but again, since the movie isn't about him, and we never see much of their relationship, none of it resonated for me.  Same with her becoming her mother... again, she spends most of the run time reading a fucking book, so there's little character development.  

 

Looked pretty though.

post #21 of 30
For better or worse, this sounds like a much more interesting film than A SINGLE MAN.

I'll catch it as soon as it becomes available as an Amazon streaming rental.
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

*grits teeth*



 



mmmm, it's such a bizarro mess.  There are some really interested ideas at play here, but it feels like a movie hopping on one leg that never quite reaches its destination.  Unless it's destination was to confuse the shit out of me.



 



I'm still trying to figure out what the fuck the opening had to do with... anything at all.



 



Ending was hilarious.  Not sure what it means but I laughed.  Michael fucking Shannon.  Just a delight to watch.  He should be headlining more and bigger films.  But God this movie... so weird.  On the one hand I was riveted by the book's story, on the other Amy Adams is just kind of wallpaper... I'm still not exactly sure what the point of her storyline was.  Her relationship with Gyllenhaal wasn't all that fleshed out, so any parallels between them and the story she's reading were lost on me.  It's like the book is telling a hidden narrative only she understands, since she's so caught up in it.  I suppose him being "weak" ties into it, but again, since the movie isn't about him, and we never see much of their relationship, none of it resonated for me.  Same with her becoming her mother... again, she spends most of the run time reading a fucking book, so there's little character development.  



 



Looked pretty though.


 



OH YEAH!! I Totally wanted to respond to this post--but Big Navy got in the way. So....


Except the movie totally is about Gyllenhall's character. If you want to look at it one way, Nocturnal Animals (book) is Gyllenhall's character entire pov of the events leading to his and Adam's divorce and Adam's abortion in the form of a "revenge story." Though, it's not really a revenge story, more of a deconstruction of one. And while it's not meant to be a 1-1 comparison to Adam's flashbacks, it's absolutely meant to be his thoughts on how he felt (and currently feels) about everything that happened. I think some of the marketing for Nocturnal Animals sold this film short: I got the impression that it was totally about how this book was supposed to symbolize how Gyllenhall wanted to inflict violence against Adams for what she did to him.

But that's not what that book (and the film) is really about...and understanding Adams' arc plays into that. Throughout the entire film Adams' character, while incredibly wealthy, is miserable: Her husband is always away and probably cheating on her, her entire work seems to be hosting other artists,' and complains that she feels empty for not being a creative. She longs for the days when she was with Gyllenhall because it represents a more innocent and optimistic time in her life, which is why she mistakenly believes that "Nocturnal Animals" is Gyllenhall's way of reaching out to her when it's in fact his way of completely forgetting about her. "Nocturnal Animals" is his way of getting closure, and the actual revenge is denying Adams' that. Living well truly is the best form of revenge.
post #23 of 30

It's great! It's really grown on me since I saw it. 

post #24 of 30
I'll be seeing this this week.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

*grits teeth*

 

 

 

mmmm, it's such a bizarro mess.  There are some really interested ideas at play here, but it feels like a movie hopping on one leg that never quite reaches its destination.  Unless it's destination was to confuse the shit out of me.

 

 

 

I'm still trying to figure out what the fuck the opening had to do with... anything at all.

 

 

 

Ending was hilarious.  Not sure what it means but I laughed.  Michael fucking Shannon.  Just a delight to watch.  He should be headlining more and bigger films.  But God this movie... so weird.  On the one hand I was riveted by the book's story, on the other Amy Adams is just kind of wallpaper... I'm still not exactly sure what the point of her storyline was.  Her relationship with Gyllenhaal wasn't all that fleshed out, so any parallels between them and the story she's reading were lost on me.  It's like the book is telling a hidden narrative only she understands, since she's so caught up in it.  I suppose him being "weak" ties into it, but again, since the movie isn't about him, and we never see much of their relationship, none of it resonated for me.  Same with her becoming her mother... again, she spends most of the run time reading a fucking book, so there's little character development.  

 

 

 

Looked pretty though.

 



OH YEAH!! I Totally wanted to respond to this post--but Big Navy got in the way. So....


Except the movie totally is about Gyllenhall's character. If you want to look at it one way, Nocturnal Animals (book) is Gyllenhall's character entire pov of the events leading to his and Adam's divorce and Adam's abortion in the form of a "revenge story." Though, it's not really a revenge story, more of a deconstruction of one. And while it's not meant to be a 1-1 comparison to Adam's flashbacks, it's absolutely meant to be his thoughts on how he felt (and currently feels) about everything that happened. I think some of the marketing for Nocturnal Animals sold this film short: I got the impression that it was totally about how this book was supposed to symbolize how Gyllenhall wanted to inflict violence against Adams for what she did to him.

But that's not what that book (and the film) is really about...and understanding Adams' arc plays into that. Throughout the entire film Adams' character, while incredibly wealthy, is miserable: Her husband is always away and probably cheating on her, her entire work seems to be hosting other artists,' and complains that she feels empty for not being a creative. She longs for the days when she was with Gyllenhall because it represents a more innocent and optimistic time in her life, which is why she mistakenly believes that "Nocturnal Animals" is Gyllenhall's way of reaching out to her when it's in fact his way of completely forgetting about her. "Nocturnal Animals" is his way of getting closure, and the actual revenge is denying Adams' that. Living well truly is the best form of revenge.

 

Yeah I got all that.  

 

But it's one of those things where the reading a movie is more interesting than the movie itself.  At least for me.

post #26 of 30

Single Man is a masterpiece. This is just pretty great. 

post #27 of 30
Single Man is aight.

It's an impressive film debut with a great central performance, but its stylizations too often play like Diet Wong Kar-Wai.
Edited by Agentsands77 - 2/22/17 at 10:52am
post #28 of 30
Oh, I quite liked this. Significantly more interesting than A Single Man in terms of form and content, albeit thematically of a piece with it (this is kind of Single Man's darker side).

The "novel" portions end up being the most successful (the framing scenes and the real-life flashbacks don't quite click in the same way). Harrowing, suspenseful stuff.
post #29 of 30
The entire 10 minutes of the novel is just relentless in how it presents how helpless Gyllenhall is in that scene.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post

The entire 10 minutes of the novel is just relentless in how it presents how helpless Gyllenhall is in that scene.
Absolutely. A sustained nightmare of powerlessness. And in the landscape of that "realistic" novel, the interjection of stylization (the bodies on the red couch) is pretty striking in its effect.

The stuff in the "present" isn't as well-realized. Too much of Amy Ryan looking blank and depressed in a world of chilly artifice (the facile visual parallels between her world and the novel don't make this stuff any more dynamic). That said, the opening stretch of this section (including that striking title sequence) is impressive, even if Ford ends up leaning on some too-obvious symbolism as it goes on (also an issue with Single Man), like that "Revenge" painting or the dead bird.

The weakest stuff is the real-world flashbacks to young Amy and Jake. They're the most pedestrian sections of the film in terms of writing and direction, which is a significant failure because, really, these scenes need to be immediate and pulsating, since they inform everything else. They never feel that explosive. They just feel functional and expository.

Still, I can't help but admire that this thing exists in 2016. It feels like the kind of pretentious project that would have emerged in the late sixties and early seventies (the period that gave us pretentious thrillers like Games and The Magus). This movie doesn't rank among the best of that category, but it's strikingly strange, nonetheless.
Edited by Agentsands77 - 3/5/17 at 7:36am
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