Produced by Fade to Black Productions
Directed and written by Tom Ford,
based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan
Distributed by Focus Features
Produced by Marvel and Disney Studios
Directed and written by Scott Derrickson
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Erstwhile fashion designer turned film director Tom Ford seems to have meant his second film, Nocturnal Animals, to be, as Winston Churchill said of Russia, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” If I’m right about Ford’s intention to mystify, then I have to say he hasn’t fully succeeded. His riddle is far too decipherable, and his film is, as the psychiatrists say, overdetermined. Nearly every shot is accompanied by a signpost announcing his purpose, which aligns with Oscar Wilde’s in “The Decay of Lying.” “Life imitates Art,” Wilde informs his readers, “far more than Art imitates Life.” Wilde’s unspoken corollary is that we can’t see reality clearly until we perceive it through the agency of art.
Ford indelicately hammers home this aperçu by equipping his film with two distinct narratives that proceed in counterpoint. ...