Tuesday, 15 November 2016
REVIEW: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Not So Fantastic Beasts (And How To Dress Them).
116 Minutes. Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Jena Malone, Laura Linney & Michael Sheen. Director: Tom Ford.
Stay awake and alert for this animalistic intention fashioned by Tom Ford if you can. Because the style icons grand cinematic design doesn't know if its treading shallow water or diving deeper. And we're not quite sure if these stylish 'Nocturnal Animals' are saying something of substance or are really just quite pretentious. But boy do they button up and look good. The suited and booted all-star A-list cast affair on the red carpet here didn't even look this good surrounded by the 'let them have cake' Hollywood crowd at the films premiere. That's what you get when the man behind the camera is the focus of so many celebrites in front of it that even Jay-Z named a song off his last album after him, because that's just how he rocks. Tom Ford, brought the lonely best out of a Caine bespectacled 'Kingsman' Colin Firth's 'A Single Man'. Now Tom affords more with these night owls based on Austin Wright's 'Tom and Susan' bestseller in this Tom and Jerry, cat and mouse narrative with glitz and glamour mammals and big-names like Adams, Gyllenhaal, Shannon, Taylor-Johnson, Hammer, Fisher, Malone, Linney and Sheen buying into this book. With a screenplay on a story based on a novel idea (that's a story inside a story people...confused yet?) wrote by a womans jilted ex-husband brimmed with cruel and abhorent violence to women and drowning depression and despair to one man in particular. A read called 'Nocturnal Animals' dedicated to her and named after what she was once called for better or worse. Showing seemingly in this trending time that revenge is a dish best served passive aggressively in writing. But should we read more into this?
Depending on which film you see this week will determine how much you like Amy Adams. The 'Big Eyes' Oscar nominated actress is looking for her Academy Award next February with two films this week. Coming off her second big 'Man Of Steel' report, scooping the 'Batman V Superman' fight of the century in 'Dawn Of Justice', Adams is really here, right now. Just wait until her 'Arrival' to see how front and centre she is with a perfect performance in an amazing alien movie that has a close encounter with the greatest science-fiction odyssey's ever made and maybe even the best pictures of this year, from director Denis Villeneuve who gave us last years best film, the sinisterly stellar 'Sicario'. But with this 'Nocturnal Animal' Adams makes herself up even more as an artist trying to canvas a life of frivolous fakes in a seemingly neon perfect Los Angeles, City Of Angels were everyone has decided that their halo doesn't quite go with there outfit. More than dressing to impress this amazing Amy is a Blunt train track away from being a gone girl in a vapid world of social media bottomless pit timeline emptiness and its lack of graces. Were the only one trying to reach out, albeit the wrong way is her ex, played by a Leo Oscar chasing Jake Gyllenhaal. A man about to bring new 'Life' to his career with his own big budget, 'Alien' like sci-fi alongside 'Deadpool' Ryan Reynolds. An actor whose also had the best brought out of him by Villeneuve in his locked in 'Prisoners' performance and 'Enemy' dual-opposite double act. A leading man coming out swinging after some misfires recently. No matter how good they were, 'Demolition' didn't quite hit like he expected and 'Southpaw' was out-duked by Rocky's 'Creed' protegee. And although we still need so see Jake no less than on Nightcrawling form, he's something else here. Even if we rarely see his real authors character and instead the semi-autobiographical broken hearted character from his books story, wrote and chapter dedicated with an anxiously agitated, mourning maraudering performed characterization. As Adams and Gyllenhaal can look and play young star struck lovers full of early twenties hope and invincibility and real world-30 year olds stunted and strung out, medicated on disappointment and never be the same again doubt, drowned on disenchanted social sorrows. What a difference a beard and make-up makes.
Fashion fit into the rest of the films themes, the stylistic supporting cast is corset tight. Quicksilver Beatle Aaron Taylor-Johnson is so savagely good at being bad you just can't watch. A skin-crawling tense and every nerve drawn out roadside fender bender, driven off the highway set-up, set-piece is as throat lump scary and eternity like long as it safety shreddingly should be. You want to do more than kick his ass as he disgustingly wipes his own bare one on an outside toilet with not a care in the world or one for what he's done or the people he's done it too. You just hate him...and that's the sign of an actor to love. Just as bad, albeit in a more betraying way is the douche armed Armie Hammer, not hamming it up as the all round nice guys plays a man who is as much a prick as the needle and thread left in his suit...probably a Tom Ford. There's even more runway acting talent with Isla Fisher's muse playing. An almost unrecognisable, Dolce dolled up Laura Linney of 'Sully' going against type and showing just how great an actress she is. An even smaller and stylish polished cameo from maverick Michael Sheen than his Ziggy Bowie like one in the stardust of 'Tron: Legacy'. And 'Batman v Superman's' cutting room floor fodder Jena Malone, whose satirical fashionist shows just how little meaning we place on life and what or who we love over the latest app and new phone models in one of the best moments in this movie, until it turns into some 'Drag Me To Hell' inspired horror shock and awful. Yet in this 'Midnight Special' it's Michael Shannon's stereotypical Southern sheriff that is the most refreshing thing about this picture...even if he does jack the owl line from Michael Mann's crime syndicate 'Heat'. Who? Al Pacino! What do you mean who? Shannon steals the show even as his skinny character (who looks nothing like his body double cameo General Zod in this years oft-mentioned here 'Man Of Steel' sequel) is dying of the cigarettes he may as well still smoke like a cop. On his way to 'Loving' more Oscar work the one of a kind character Shannon is having quite the career couple of years. Keeping this design up like a silver buckled belt and holster he and our two leads head a headshot worthy cast that give a greater look to this picture that's in need of a better portrait. Without them this style piece would have no substance in this iPhone swiping social age sense of ego-inviting entitlement and Ford's latest which tries to bar all of that may be in need for a factory reset itself. Between a feast of the flesh opening that is all human form type celebratory, but overkilled unecessary in the artist character and directors intentions (whatever they may be) and a lot of criminally inappropriate suggested and screamingly blurred sexual violence in a world so wrong today there is such a term as "rape culture", a lot of this is critically misguided. Epsecially in a world were you don't always have to prove your words by action, but merely the directorial power of suggestion. Sure this writer could be a prude or even a bit too preachy ('Blue Velvet' and 'A Clockwork Orange' are missing off my 'to watch' list), but in artistic integrity there's more beauty and genuine intention in what you don't see. And like someone dressing themselves as something they're not just to please the masses, there's a real, personal message here to heed. It's just hidden behind all that make-up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.