‘Do you ever feel like your life is turning into something you never intended?’
Blistering savagery told with superficial cruelty. A chilling modern-day parable of how greed and excess can wreck lives. Few films, let alone sophomore films from a writer-director, are this impressive. Gorgeously shot, spectacularly told and superbly well-acted…this is the kind of film that gets under your skin. It seduces the viewer, weaving its way in and then setting up residence; forcing your brain to rethink, reflect and reprocess. It’s deserving of at least second viewing is unquestionable as is Ford’s ability to tell a story that is so distinctive in terms of visuals and narrative.
Amy Adams is spell-binding in the lead role. For much of the film we see her reading the novel manuscript written & sent to her by her ex-husband, it’s dedication forcing her to read it and consuming her as she does so. The fact the story it tells is so violent wondrously reveals the nature of their separation and the devastation it caused. The story itself makes up the second layer of the film – this is the brutal world in which we spend the most time in, time which is tense and truly gripping.
Gyllenhaal appears in both of these worlds and does a magnificent job of creating both characters then exploring the differing horrors that haunt both of them. Shannon proves yet again that he is one of cinema’s most underappreciated actors, stealing many scenes as the rasping been-there-done-that-and-seen-things-you-could-never-imagine detective. It’s Taylor-Johnson however who provides the most transformative performance – he’s practically unrecognisable as a animalistic figure capable of unimaginable crimes. He terrorizes the characters and the screen – epitomising the primal fears and feral natures hidden away in the glossy LA that Adams’ art dealer occupies.
The film has much to say on materialism, revenge, relationships along with the eternal internal battle between the past and the present. Ford meticulously weaves these two separate worlds into existence then, almost unnoticeably, they are interwoven and we are forced to question all that has gone on before.
Dir: Tom Ford
Country: United States
Year: 2016 Run time:127 minutes
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer.