Cast one eye over the stacked lineup for TIFF 2016 and you’ll find scores of eye-catching features crammed with top-tier talent – be it Antoine Fuqua’s starry Magnificent Seven redo or Arrival, Denis Villeneuve’s intriguing sci-fi that finds Amy Adams attempting to make first contact.
Arrival isn’t the only motion picture on TIFF’s slate to feature the Batman V Superman star, though, as Adams also holds a role in Tom Ford’s domestic thriller Nocturnal Animals. Penned by late Cincinnati author Austin Wright, the November release marks Ford’s first foray behind the lens since firing A Single Man to Oscar glory back in 2009.
This time around, the filmmaker is juggling a much bigger ensemble cast – an ensemble cast that takes center stage in today’s fresh batch of character posters. At the forefront of that roster is Amy Adams as Susan, a happily-married woman who is drawn into what appears to be a twisted revenge plot hatched by her estranged ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). If the one-two punch of Prisoners and Nightcrawler is any indication, moviegoers can feel confident in Gyllenhaal delivering another standout performance in two months’ time.
With TIFF 2016 well underway, we now have access to the first wave of admittedly glowing reviews. Our own Darren Ruecker, for instance, lumped praise on Tom Ford’s ability to engineer “two dazzling stories that combine for one powerful movie experience.” He wasn’t the only one full of praise, either, as these snippets prove:
The Film Stage: With everything going on, Nocturnal Animals is the sort of narrative and tonal minefield that a lesser director could easily have gotten lost in. Ford allows us to consider and cherish each unique thread and wonder just how it could all possibly come together. Each place has its own vibe, almost its own genre, and it’s a credit to Ford, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, and the entire production team that it works at all. This is the output of a great creative mind, testing the limits of this fanciful, wonderful tool he’s suddenly found at his disposal.
The Playlist: From its opening titles, a seeming riff on a James Bond credits sequence in which naked, overweight-to-obese ladies dance in slow motion wearing nothing but majorette-style accessories while glitter flies through the air and Abel Korzeniowski‘s shamelessly romance-and-intrigue-based score swirls and swoops deliriously, Tom Ford‘s “Nocturnal Animals” is a feast for the eyes and a fun-size Mars Bar for the brain. It’s also highly enjoyable, when it’s not trying to be serious and make heavy points about the interrelation of art and life.
The Hollywood Reporter: David Lynch meets Alfred Hitchcock meets Douglas Sirk in Nocturnal Animals, a sumptuously entertaining noir melodrama laced with vicious crime and psychological suspense, which more than delivers on the promise of A Single Man, writer-director Tom Ford’s first foray behind the camera seven years ago. Confidently dovetailing three strands that depict present and past reality, as well as a dark fictional detour that functions as a blunt real-life rebuke, the movie once again demonstrates that Ford is both an intoxicating sensualist and an accomplished storyteller, with as fine an eye for character detail as he has for color and composition.
Nocturnal Animals is due to make its bow in select cities come November 18, before expanding nationwide on December 9. Armie Hammer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, and Laura Linney round out the casting docket.