'Nocturnal Animals' Movie Review: ‘All Glitz and Zero Heart’

(Photo from left:  Merrick Morton/Focus Features, Merrick Morton/Focus Features)

'Nocturnal Animals' Movie Review: ‘All Glitz and Zero Heart’

Tom Ford's latest will leave you asking, "Is that it?"

Published December 9, 2016

Written by Clay Cane

Tom Ford is a master of beauty. His clothes are legendary and Jay Z even wrote a song about him.

In 2009, his debut film, A Single Man, proved he could mesh his gift for style and love for movies. Nocturnal Animals is his second film, which is just as gorgeous — but that’s about it. A film can't just be beautiful, a movie needs to make you feel. Nocturnal Animals is all glitz and zero heart.

Written and directed by Ford, the movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams in a plot that is difficult to explain — or watch for two hours. Let me attempt to summarize: Amy and Jake are divorcées who never fell out of love. Jake’s character gets a case of the cray-cray and Amy Adams struts and pouts with superb hair.

Ford uses the story within a story plot device, which may have been strategically confusing, but is cinematically annoying. While there are a handful of thrills, due to a clunky script, it’s difficult to connect to any of the characters or feel invested in the storyline(s).

Yes, the acting is flawless, but that’s a given with Adams and Gyllenhaal. Audiences will have to decide if watching a pretty-perfect Amy Adams dramatically stare into space or majestic scenery shots of Cali will redeem the epic plot holes. 

That said, I was compelled to watch the film in full because I was certain something would happen — nothing did. The Tom Ford film is stylistic confusion with no payoff. After the final frame, you'll ask yourself, "Is that it?" But hey, sometimes it’s about style over substance. Right?

Nocturnal Animals is in theaters now.

Watch our throwback interview with Jake Gyllenhaal above.

(Photo from left: Merrick Morton/Focus Features, Merrick Morton/Focus Features)

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