Although director Tom Ford may be better known for his dresses than he is for his films, there is no doubt that this talented artist knows how to helm a powerful piece. After all, Colin Firth’s brilliant performance in Ford’s A Single Man was nominated for an Academy Award. And it appears that Ford is showing no signs of slowing down as a director. With his latest turn in Nocturnal Animals, Ford once again manages to elicit stunning performances from his actors.
Although Amy Adams is fantastic in the lead role, in this film it’s the supporting actors who truly shine. First, there is Michael Shannon’s winning performance as a redneck police officer suffering from health issues. Knowing that he will soon be liberated from his earthly bonds, Shannon’s character takes a much more interpretative approach to his job. When Jake Gyllenhaal’s character comes into his office to report his missing wife and daughter, one can see on Shannon’s face that he feels he is a man with nothing to lose. Of course, this provides for many highly dramatic, charged moments. The film benefits greatly as a result.
There is also the brilliant performance of Laura Linney in the role of Amy Adams’ mother. It is this character who provides some foreshadowing as to who Adams will become. Although she is a romantic young artist during parts of this non-linear film, it quickly becomes obvious that she will eventually sell out when the going gets tough. This leads to an unsuccessful first marriage—and an incredible amount of guilt over an experience she had while married. The unforgettable opening of this film provides a brilliant foil for Adams’ character. Indeed, there are many unforgettable visual sequences in the movie, as this happens to be Ford’s wheelhouse.