I attended the premiere of Nocturnal Animals at the Hammer Museum on Friday night. Glitz and glamor were abounded because of Mr. Ford’s presence. Most know him as a top global fashion icon, but he is also a formidable filmmaker. The real focus of the evening was, of course, the film.
Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford’s first film since his directorial debut in 2009, “A Single Man”. It is a cautionary tale of betrayal, death, and divorce and allegorically illustrates the emotions evoked by these realities of life. Ford impressed the judges in August at the Venice Film Festival, and the momentum continued at the Los Angeles premiere.
Ford has an uncanny ability to combine the obtuse with the beautiful to create the world that feels too real to be real. Similar to his previous ventures as a director, every frame is artfully directed and crafted, but somehow surreal. Ford and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey teamed up to create a truly unique film.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, who portray two artistic minds that bond together but are ultimately torn apart by the weight of expectation. Adam’s character finds herself in turmoil, lured by material belongings and empty temptations. She receives a manuscript from her now ex-husband, Gyllenhaal, titled “Nocturnal Animals”, and quickly discovers the eerie parallels between its utterly disturbing contents and her own reality.
The film is a violent rollercoaster of emotions that virtually any spectator can find common ground with. I was particularly impressed with the cinematography, color schematics, and artistic film escapes that subtly reminded the audience of the talents that all began with Mr. Ford’s “other” profession. I give this one five stars and can understand why there are such wide intervals between Ford’s movies: he has a vision that is uncompromised by “selling out” and looking for the cheap thrill. His dedication to detail is tough to find today in a world that compromises artistic vision for the pursuit of quick commercial success. For that, I applaud Mr. Ford.