The second film from famous fashion designer, Tom Ford, tells the story of a well-off art dealer as she receives a violent and disturbing book from her first ex-husband. This movie was a trip.
The film is split into three timelines. The first is with Susan Morrow, played tremendously by Amy Adams, and consists of her receiving and reading her ex-husband’s new book. As she reads the book, we see the events taking place in a separate fictional timeline. In this, Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead character of Tony Hastings, and things get dark real quick. While Susan is reading this book, she is reminiscing on hr time with her first husband, Edward Sheffield, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Altogether, these three stories craft a beautiful revenge tale that utilizes a bunch of symbolism and metaphors, and it was amazing.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays two characters in this film, and he plays both wonderfully. Going from the dark and violent scenes from the book to the romantic drama between Edward and Susan was rewarding as the film went on, and Amy Adam’s did an amazing job as Susan Morrow in her two timelines. Also, Michael Shannon in this film was fantastic, and once you get what he symbolizes, his performance becomes even better. And lastly, Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s performance was rightly disgusting. His character was so well written throughout the book timeline, and Johnson did an amazing job as the central antagonist here. All in all, the characters in this film were so well acted, and so well written there was not a dull performance throughout the film. Even the secondary side characters performed well in this film.
The film is shot beautifully, and along with the score, some scenes are able to build tremendous amounts of tension and urgency. As the director of photography, Seamus McGarvey did a fantastic job. Just as well, Tom Ford’s screenplay was phenomenal, many sequences in this film ground me into the floor, they were so gut-wrenching. As good as this film was, it was an extremely difficult to watch.
While much of the film was fantastic, there were a few disappointing factors. For one, while most of the symbolism is subtle and powerful, some of it was more in-your-face and detracted from the complexity and intelligence of the film. Also, the pacing seemed a bit off. When time would pass in the novel portion of the film it felt jarring and took me out of the experience briefly. Other than that, the film was truly great.
I know this review is pretty late, but I had to let this film marinate in me while I figured out what I really thought of this film. In the end, this film was amazing. It’s one of those films that are truly great, but I can only stomach to watch it every once in a while. I can tell you guys right now that I probably will not watch this film for another month, it cut me to my core. Because of that, I loved this film that much more.