If you saw A Single Man, you know of the ways designer Tom Ford can translate his polished sartorial aesthetic to filmmaking — with shots that never seem anything less than exceedingly deliberate, striking, and, for better or for worse, staged. A trailer for his upcoming film, Nocturnal Animals, which recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, has just been released, and though it’s not a period piece like A Single Man, it shows that Ford looks to be approaching it with the same kind of heavy stylization. This arresting trailer really plays up the movie’s thriller-y vibes and is more about atmosphere and tone than narrative; after watching it you’ll still wonder what the hell is going on, which is really what should happen at the end of trailers.
The movie stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon, whose IMDB page I’ve screen-capped, because, damn, this guy must have clones or a time-turner helping him do half these films:
Adams plays the owner of a gallery whose life suddenly becomes a whole lot creepier when she receives a manuscript for her ex-husband’s novel that’s profoundly violent, and which she takes to be a threat (maybe of revenge for an undisclosed “horrible something” she did).
Apart from glimpses at what look like unsurprisingly excellent performances from the cast, the trailer also features a couple of memorable, isolated images. (And a couple of cliché ones as well!) One that struck me was this short clip of fingernails tapping on a desk — but the desk’s surface is reflective, and thus makes the hand/nails look like a hungry mouth of odd, sharpened finger-teeth, making the banal extremely ominous:
On the more cliché level, like all movies about creepy things happening in the alienating cityscape of Los Angeles, the trailer shows an aerial shot of a multilevel freeway interchange, to emphasize the notion of worlds creeping along in tandem yet isolated…or whatever these shots are always used for.
There’s a scene in the film, according to Flavorwire Film Editor Jason Bailey — who caught it at TIFF — in which one of the acts of violence in the novel is shown onscreen. Bailey writes that “the central event of Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, which plays out roughly in real time, is one of the scarier and upsetting film sequences in recent memory” — despite it existing as a fiction within a fiction.
Though in his coverage of the film, he notes that it’s doesn’t always come together tonally, he says it’s “a movie that sticks with you — sleek and crisp, as is Ford’s style, but with scenes of domestic terror and toxic masculinity so tautly rendered, you sort of wish he’d just gone all the way with it and made an art-house Last House on the Left.”
Nocturnal Animals will be out November 23. Watch the trailer: