REVENGE – Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford

What can I say?!!

Tom Ford is back and with REVENGE.

>> SPOILERS ALERT<<

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The core of this movie is one emotion, one sentiment and it is revenge told through colours, music, strong images and a thrilling story line made of slices of lives.It’s cruel and sad and yet extremely beautiful.

It is meant to make you feel uncomfortable from the first images on the screen of naked overweight women dancing to the magnificent music of  Abel Korzeniowski, the composer who Tom Ford already collaborated with in his first movie “A single man”.

RED is the first of the two colours that set the background and journey in a beautifully cared composition of images. Deep red curtains  behind the provocative dancers,  they might be a hint to the choices that have been made and their consequences in total contracts to what they should be in a display of sensual and erotic movements. Red as our Susan’s lips, a sign of a fainted passion for life itself.

Red as our Susan’s lips, a sign of a fainted passion for life itself and the start of regret.

An elegant symphony of arcs in a soothing sensual melody is in total contracts with the almost deformed naked bodies frantically dancing in slow motion. It makes you want to stop watching and still want to look at the same time.

Red is the predominant colour throughout the movie. Perfect colour because it is passion, sensuality, sex and pain, hurt.  Some blues in the main character’s eye colours and the final strong statement green, colour for regret and things that are lost; ending up with the smooth transition from red to green. Green the colour bound to revenge, to the bad and betrayal from the bad’s guys boots to the luscious dress for the final scene and the background of the same colour.

Nocturnal Animals is absolutely the runner-up for my favourite movies of all times.

Here is why.

Tom Ford adapted the original book to a level of perfect sensuality and emptiness.Tom’s aesthetic is key to this film and it’s the tone that magically takes you in a difficult story in harmony and symbiosis with the music. A man (Edward) + a woman (Susan) and a broken love, a horrible crime.

We all want revenge, we all want to give back the pain someone inflicted on us and tear them apart as much as our flesh has been torn out our bones. This is what this movie is about and translates this feeling into images.

It is a primal journey through that feeling of betrayal, abandonment and love and then it takes you through loss and pain and back to the love and the grand final retribution moment.

It is perfect in its narration and flashes from the past, present and the “main” story which is a book.

Simple storyline of the movie: a woman receives a book from her former husband dedicated to her and she starts to read it while her present life is empty, shallow and somehow dark. Memories of her past love come back and interlace with the story told in the tormented and devastating book.

The book dedicated to her is about a husband who loses his wife and daughter to a senseless and trivial group of murderers.

First, the narration of the night his family, his women, gets taken away: it’s uncomfortable, long and thrilling. It makes you want to scream, it is unfair and brutal. He is powerless and hesitant to the point of annoying you and wanting you to scream and react for him. Those moments where he does not do what he should, where he lets the moment decide for him, he’s powerless from his own doing. He is weak. He’s a victim of the situation and a powerless spectator of his own tragedy. 

Susan gets shocked and hooked on the book’s story, it makes her restless and desperate for the agony of the man in the book and reminds her of the author of the book and the genuine and simple love she had with him meanwhile her present life is empty;the story in the book is unexpected for her since the author (Edward) was a gentle, sensitive and kind man. The life she chose for herself is trivial and only full of great empty spaces.

The life she chose for herself is trivial and only full of great empty spaces.

Emptiness. Narrated in a gorgeous house on the hills of LA; luxurious and empty.She is alone throughout the reading of this novel. She is alone with his words and the novel’s tormented journey of sorrow. The cruel story in the book moves her senses, her breathing changes as so does the music that embraces this movie to perfection and enhances it to epic sensations. She lives the man’s pain in the book, little step by little step. She is even tormented by some moments in the book during her daily life. She is living someone else’s tragedy, loss and unimaginable pain. 

The music is strong and so sad. Violins cry together with up and downs of events. The novel, the past love made of two individuals very opposite; she wants to be an artist but is too cynical and lacks, in the past, of emotional depth to be a real artist and he is too sweet and romantic and seen as “weak”. The important word in the movie is = WEAK.

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She reads, in the past, a previous novel he is trying to write and she criticises him of talking too much about himself and it’s not interesting enough. He is upset. The music changes to a slight more aggressive note. She doubts that they can be together and she is not happy. She meets another beautiful, plastic and static man. She sees another world closer to her own and she lets her love go, she kills it. She leaves him in a brutal but accidental way. She does something to their lives, she breaks them.

In the book, the husband has found the bodies of his wife and daughter and with a very odd detective starts the journey of finding the killers and confronting them. A long suffered journey of weakness and doubts.

Red is the hair colour of all the main women in the movie as the sofa where the bodies are found as the curtains where they were murdered, the background of the dancers, in the beginning, is RED  as the lips of our Susan when she appears the first scene. Red for the passion, love and the final violence. 

The husband in the novel has been weak. He has not defended his family. He has not died for them and he will be confronted for that, he will have his moment to revenge them and maybe end up like them. It is a crescendo to that moment. A growing of little steps that time makes him stronger and more secure about who he saw, what they have done and he’s forced to relive that moment of loss and his weakness that will stare into his eyes every step of the way. He’s building his courage and elaborating his pain.

Meanwhile, the woman reading the book rediscovers the author, the old lover,  and that tormenting sensation of wanting to be loved again. To have back what she threw away. To feel again instead of being surrounded by empty beautiful things, she is waking up to the feelings in the novel and breathing again, hurting again but seeing the possibility of loving again.

Finally, we find out what she did in real life, to the ex-husband, the author of the book. She broke his heart and took away from him an unborn child. She tore him apart and murdered his love. Betrayal.Left him for another. Lost faith in him as her man and before that as a novelist.

The book is still about him, the weak man she left but in a thrilling story veiled with murder and violence but pure and true to how he felt when she killed their unborn child and left him for the emptiness of another man, she is both the dead wife and the killers. 

She told him once that writing about himself was not enough, it made her and wonder and it’s not interesting . Well, she made him interesting and he is talking about himself and she lived through every single moment of surprise, pain and longing to know how it would end.

This is just a brilliant moment of revelation that breaks your heart and opens your eyes wide to the truth of pain and loss. He made her live his pain in another way but still she has felt what she caused him to feel. Every single little nuance of that pain.

The betrayal, the bitterness of it.
The pain, the ugly hurt it causes.
The agony of understanding why and long infinite journey to process it.
The building up of courage to move on and
The final…. the revenge. The sweet sour taste of  making her feel what he felt and have her suffer too at the right time even if it took 15 years. 

The loss is loss in any kind, shape and form. This novelist is able to take his own love, faith and trust lost ; he mutates , misshapes it in a captivating drama. It is so raw and full of that pressing turn of events that takes you from one emotion to the other. Emptiness, weakness and betrayal are the main motors in the narration. 

A final blow is the final moment of pure intensity. She gets ready to finally meet the author, her old love, the man who reawakened her senses through what she did not believe he was capable of before = words.Her old and also somehow new lover. The weak man who even in his novel finds the strength to punish the murderers and revenge his family. She gets ready in an emerald-green dress and looks into the mirror rediscovering her confidence and herself. She is anticipating where this meeting her past lover will take her. A faint smile of hope and longing.She takes off the deep red lipstick; that is the moment you know what will happen. The last sign of love and passion is take away with her own hands and she did before in her life, she does once again. Beautiful symbolic moment.

She goes…all translated into sensual perfectly staged images as Tom Ford is capable of doing with that blunt sexual provocation in this case in her dress, movements and hair.

She sits and sips her drink waiting….waiting.. waiting…in a perfect scenario like a doll… she waits…the small smile is lost again and the last close up into her eye lets you understand that she finally got what she deserve…and she understands that now. In Edward’s words: “When you love someone you take care of it because you don’t know if it will happen to you again.”

It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge. Friedrich Nietzsche

…REVENGE!!!!

I just love this movie and this story translated to perfection in Tom Ford’s erotic colourful world of images.

I have been waiting for so long to finally watch a movie that moved me this much and gave me everything…music… images and what a story with an impeccable end.It is profoundly sad and full of symbolism. If that is your thing this movie will not disappoint in any kind of way.

 

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