Venice Film Festival: ‘Nocturnal Animals’ showcases versatility of Oscar favorite Amy Adams

Another day at the Venice Film Festival and another Amy Adams movie. On Thursday, the Lido was buzzing about her performance in Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi epic “Arrival.” On Friday, the talk turned to her scene-stealing work in Tom Ford‘s “Nocturnal Animals.”

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Ford did double duty on his sophomore film, also adapting Austin Wright‘s 1993 bestseller “Tony and Susan” which plays with time as it tells the story of a long-divorced couple. Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) has written a thriller that his ex-wife Susan (Adams) reads as a diversion from her drab life as an art curator in Los Angeles. We see her imagining him as the character Tony in scenes from his book, which centers on a road trip from hell in Texas, as well as flashing back to their once-happy marriage.

Ford, a well-known fashion designer, enjoyed great success back in 2009 with his first film, “A Single Man,” which also debuted at Venice and went on to earn leading man Colin Firth both his first BAFTA win and his first Oscar nomination. Adams has reaped five Oscar bids but has yet to win while Gyllenhaal is a one-time nominee.

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Focus is bringing Ford’s film to the Toronto filmfest next and it is set for a limited release on Nov. 18 followed by an expansion on Dec. 9. Do you think “Nocturnal Animals” will be an Oscar contender?

Check out some of the rave reviews below, and then be sure to make your Oscar predictions HERE. Don’t worry, you can keep changing your predictions right up until Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 24.

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Owen Gleiberman (Variety): “Gyllenhaal’s performance goes to a place of real terror and despair, and when the movie flashes back, he, along with Adams, seems possessed of a younger, more vital spirit. “Nocturnal Animals” is on some level a cautionary tale about the false gods that can lead one to make the wrong choices.”

Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): “There are tremendous flashbacks, triggered incongruously by the grisly crime-genre shocks, which carry Susan back to the decisions she made and unmade in her youth. And there is a glorious scene with Susan and her reactionary, Martini-sipping mamma, wonderfully played by Laura Linney.”

David Sexton (Evening Standard): “Ford has radically promoted the social standing of Susan (Amy Adams, superb again) to that of a senior art curator, providing in this half of the story plenty of the riches and architectural and fashion icons he adores, including a shocking opening of cavorting, obese nude women (art). But, conversely, he has made the thriller Susan reads (and thus we see) even tougher than the original, switching the setting from Maine to the dusty badlands of his native Texas. This part rivals ‘No Country For Old Men.'”

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