Nocturnal Animals: Amy Adams pristine in harrowing thriller

Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller Nocturnal Animals. Picture: Merrick Morton/Focus Features
Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller Nocturnal Animals. Picture: Merrick Morton/Focus Features
Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller Nocturnal Animals. Picture: Merrick Morton/Focus Features Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller Nocturnal Animals. Picture: Merrick Morton/Focus Features

CHRISTMAS comes early for Australia this week with additional Amy Adams films.

While in Arrival she attempts to communicate with aliens, in Nocturnal Animals she suffers from a communication breakdown with her husband and ex-husband.

The excitement of art gallery owner Susan Morrow’s (Amy Adams) latest exhibition opening is hampered by her husband Hutton’s (Armie Hammer) absence.

The workaholic’s life is one business trip after another and while he is away again, Susan receives a manuscript of the latest novel by her ex-husband Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Susan is rattled by the story – a couple and their teenage daughter terrorised on the deserted roads of Texas by dangerous hooligans – which has vivid, violent overtones.

Could this be Tony’s way of exacting emotional revenge after their tumultuous relationship ended years earlier?

Or have his talents as a writer, which she encouraged, finally shone through?

Former fashionista Tom Ford makes the breathtaking achievement of mixing visual beauty with emotional tension and unease in only his second feature film.

There is perfection to Susan’s scenes, almost Kubrickian in their precision; Adams is pristine in her appearance, not a hair out of place, so when juxtaposed with her imagination running wild with the story depicted in the novel, the audience is immediately put on edge.

There is a dread that simmers through the dramatisation of the novel, which is a harrowing story.

Despite having to react a lot to what she is reading, Adams turns in an excellent performance; her character’s pain and inner turmoil brought to the surface with just a few looks.

The abrupt ending had audience members groaning, but it will leave others pondering the film and its meaning much longer.

Nocturnal Animals (MA)

Directed by: Tom Ford

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

Four stars

In cinemas November 10