Something about Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals hasn’t quite rung Owen Gleiberman’s bell. Some tingly little itch that hasn’t been scratched in the right way. It’s not that he dislikes it, far from it, but it’s not as good, he says, as Blue Velvet or In The Bedroom. And yet he’s calling it “a suspenseful and intoxicating movie — a thriller that isn’t scared to go hog-wild with violence, to dig into primal fear and rage, even as it’s constructed around a melancholy love story that circles back on itself in tricky and surprising ways.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.
The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw, on the other hand, has totally flipped for it. “There’s a double-shot of horror and Nabokovian despair in this outrageously gripping and absorbing meta mystery-thriller,” he writes. “It’s a movie with a double-stranded narrative — a story about a fictional story which runs alongside — and it pulls off the considerable trick of making you care about both equally, something I think The French Lieutenant’s Woman never truly managed.
“Clive James once wrote that talk about ‘levels of reality’ never properly acknowledges that one of these levels is really real. That probably holds true. But in Nocturnal Animals, these levels are equally powerful, and have an intriguingly queasy and potent interrelation.
Gleiberman: “With Amy Adams as a posh, married, but deeply lonely Los Angeles artist, and Jake Gyllenhaal as the novelist from her past who finds himself trapped in a nightmare, the movie has two splendid actors working at the top of their game, and more than enough refined dramatic excitement to draw awards-season audiences hungry for a movie that’s intelligent and sensual at the same time.”
Nocturnal Animals, which apparently didn’t make the cut at Telluride but will screen in Toronto next week, “seizes and holds you — with its suspense, and its vision. It leaves no doubt as to Ford’s fervor and originality as a director, and it leaves you hoping that he’ll make his next film before another seven years passes by.”