Words by Gabriele Niola
Photos by Alessio Costantino
Translation by Bianca Baroni
In collaboration with Badtaste.it
In A Single Man we were in the ‘60s, here we are in the present (and maybe that’s why it’s even more impressive the presence of the boss of the servants in the house of the protagonist). Everything derives from those hair and luxury: charm and problems, pains and necessities. It would be crazy to say that this kind of approach to a movie isn’t fascinating, that the fact of seeing a story full of color, shapes, interiors, accessories, cars and splendor isn’t interesting. That interesting movie though is not Nocturnal Animals.
Amy Adams,(again)the best thing of the movie, is a woman with a marriage in her past, who receives the draft of a book from her ex, after 20 years of silence. During all of the movie, she reads it and when she does it, we see in shape of images what is written in the pages, a hard story of violence and revenge. In fact, in the book, a man, a woman and their daughter (the man, in her imagination, looks like his ex, Jake Gyllenhall, and the wife resembles her, played by Isla Fisher) are stopped by a bunch of rednecks that abuse of the women and kills them and from that moment on, he will live to get his revenge. But while she reads the draft, the protagonist also thinks about her life and the choices that led her leaving her ex-husband: she remembers the woman she was (she strongly wanted to follow her feelings instead of economical convenience) and the woman she is (materialist just like her mother, that she once despised).
For such a story, that intersects three levels (present, past and imagination) it’s necessary a flawless work of editing that must be complex and inventive (by Joan Sabel, the same who worked for the hoicidal fury of Kill Bill), and that’s a technically impeccable key point of this movie, which can’t impose itself in the audience’s agenda.
Even though the hardships of the protagonist are very clear, we can’t side with her nor against her, there’s always a filter that block us to get close to her (melo)drama. The same problem we found in A Single Man’s narration strikes back here, the lack of interest: the same emotional indolence and the presumption that it should be the spectator to find feelings in themselves and not the story to raise emotions. And the more sparks and peculiarities are present, the more it’s evident what lacks.
And that’s because the parallel between the story of pain, sorrow and sacrifice that is read and the emotional dimension of the woman that reads it and that wants to live an irrational life again, is only traced, not used. Once we understand that the sensations which are read are the same surface in the protagonist, the movie doesn’t touch and doesn’t invest on the mature conscience of the spectator, leaving it all meaningless, thinking that somehow the sense will emerge by itself.