When films sing poetry through screenplay, camera, setting, and characterization, an enchanting depth of your sleep takes place. Such bliss I encountered in my recent film-voyage with the Golden Globes winning Nocturnal Animals, directed by Tom Ford. The film finely versed and framed in terms of visual aesthetics.
Despite having an aspiring career, you are haunted, constantly, by something that you haven’t figured out yet. You are jumbling inside your mind and don’t really know what’s happening. Perhaps any past incident is still present in your mind. Susan (played by Amy Adams) in Nocturnal Animals goes through a similar situation and faces an act of dumbfounding revenge “written” for her.
Nocturnal Animals sets sail with a unique way of beginning that tells the tale — an art exhibition in Susan’s art gallery where “disfigured” aged, nude women performing in slow motion. This exhibition, self-reflexively, hints at the upcoming brutality, the capitalistic-chaos in the thoughts of artist cum character, and a beautiful revenge love-art-tale.
Based on a Novel Titled
Based on a novel titled Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, the film Nocturnal Animals speaks of the affair between an artist Susan (Amy Adams), and a writer Tony Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) with a mesmerizing screenplay. The screenplay cast a magical spell because of the style of novel-reading. Susan reads a novel’s manuscript, sent by her ex-husband Tony Edward, and there the brutality begins.
As the novel proceeds, Susan reads, and Edward bleeds, and Susan shivers, in terror, in guilt. Which she could read when they were in a relationship. The film adds to the story in the novel, making it a smooth mishmash of the past and the present. Susan, at present, runs a Los Angeles art gallery. Married to a wealthy husband Hutton (Armie Hammer) who cheats on her. Susan gradually understands the irony of art and power (to be specific: money) for which she left Edward. After many years of their divorce, Edward sends Susan the manuscript of his first novel, dedicated to her. From this point, the film blooms like a thriller love-tale!
Earlier, when Susan and Edward were married, Susan aborted their child, and couldn’t take the struggling life of Edward because Susan was born and brought up within a bourgeois family environment. She exactly resembles her elite mother, though she disagrees and asserts that she is the opposite, but Edward assures that she is not, eventually Susan proves to be so
The Novel that Susan Reads Tell
The novel that Susan reads tells a tragic-tale of three characters where Edward is playing the role of the father; the other two are the wife and a daughter. The novel opens with Edward, his wife Laura, and their teenage daughter India, driving in pitch-black West Texas. Suddenly, in the middle of the night on a lone highway, their journey disrupted by a gang of men, and the nightmare begins. The violence that ensues shakes Susan, terrifies not only her but also the viewers. Handy shots, speedy jerking movements, and the background score (music) perfectly keep pace with the mood of the terrifying night sequence.
Susan shuts off the book, stops reading, and takes medicine; she instantly calls her daughter who framed in that particular one-shot (sleeping in the room with her boyfriend). As equally as Edward’s wife and daughter (in the novel), Laura and India, were screened, after the horrifying killing-rape incident.
Despite living in a palatial modernist mausoleum, the torrent of pain is going through Susan. Earlier, when Susan and Edward were married, Susan aborted their child. And couldn’t take the struggling life of Edward because Susan was born and brought up within a bourgeois family environment. She exactly resembles her elite mother. Though she disagrees and asserts that she is the opposite, but Edward assures that she is not. Eventually, Susan proves to be so. The novel that Susan reads, reminds us that she is dead long ago, and this gifted manuscript only shocks her back to life. Susan ends her reading, and couldn’t stop emailing Edward to meet up. Edward mailed back, they locked a schedule and a location.
Susan Eagerly Waiting to Meet Edward
Susan eagerly waiting to meet Edward, to know how he now, re-married or not, and so on. The shock of the novel brings dead-inside-Susan into life, and there she desires to meet “life,”. Coming out of the presumed “comfy” cocoon provided by her present husband Hutton.
She waits in a restaurant, and drinks wine, and again waits; the waiter clears all bills. All gone, except Susan, waiting, in guilt, restless inside. Before this sequence, Tom Ford perfectly hints Edward’s motives in a background prop an art canvas hung with these words written: REVENGE!
And there ends the vengeance of Edward — the pain Edward absorbed once from Susan, poured down into pages, suffusing into Susan again after years — leaving her traumatized, and remorseful.