WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
Two proper L.A. dreamers, a suavely charming soft-spoken jazz pianist and a brilliant vivacious playwright, while waiting for their big break, attempt to reconcile aspirations and relationship in a magical old-school romance.
A "story inside a story," in which the first part follows a woman named Susan who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, a man whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The second element follows the actual manuscript, called "Nocturnal Animals," which revolves around a man whose family vacation turns violent and deadly. It also continues to follow the story of Susan, who finds herself recalling her first marriage and confronting some dark truths about herself.
With a sudden thump on the window a wild bird is stunned. It is reduced to a heap of feathers and a barely beating heart. Through fantastic imagery, talented and stylish actors at the top of their game, an amazing and fastidious director, and an enthralling and thrilling story, the characters in the film go through transformations similar to that of the dazed bird. So did I. The film resonated deeply with me. "I just can't do this anymore." I was shocked with this line that was said to me in the same situation and manner.
Despite her wealth and ownership of a Los Angeles art gallery, Susan (Amy Adams) is troubled by the absences and indifference of her husband. She unexpectedly receives a manuscript from Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal), her long estranged ex-husband. Passages from the manuscript contain eerie parallels to her past and present life. Reality is strangely infused into the story line. As Susan reads, memories and emotions come flooding back. She struggled with unhappiness then. Despite significant life changes, she still struggles with it. She let go of a good man, yet maybe because she needed to. This is what she tells herself.
In Ford's stellar and meticulously made film, even side conversations have substance and pictures on walls are connected to the story line. Certain scenes alone make the film worth watching. This includes an unorthodox interrogation by actor Michael Shannon. Shannon is extremely ruthless and convincing. Laura Linney appears as Susan's mother. She is even more brutal, in her own way, than Shannon. In a separate flashback scene, where all that is heard is a heartbeat, I was spellbound. The unexpected ending, the even more surprising opening, the twists and turns, and depth of the film, thrilled and delighted me. Tom Ford's background in the design industry is apparent in the spectacular lighting, stylish clothes and sophisticated dialogue. In the second showing of the film in North America, Ford received a standing ovation. I stood too. I loved listening to him talk and teasing people in the front row for distracting him with their cell phone cameras. His theme; do not let go of love if and when you find it. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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