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Nocturnal Animals

2016 / 116m - USA
Nocturnal Animals poster

Fashion designer and film director are careers rarely combined, which is no doubt why Tom Ford's films have received a fair bit of attention. But there's a little more to it, as Ford isn't just some rich, untalented fashion mogul buying his way into Hollywood. Nocturnal Animals shows a confident writer/director who knows what he wants to bring to the table.

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It's no real surprise that a lot of attention went into the styling. From camera work to lightening and colors, to props, setting and costumes. Everything is very deliberate, very stylish. The only thing that could've used a little extra work was is soundtrack, which felt a bit underwhelming and underused.

The story is interesting enough, though it lacks a little spice to turn this film into a real masterpiece. The underlying drama is a little on the nose and the thriller elements, while effective, feel a bit mellow. Maybe Ford can look into hiring a cowriter for his next film, the direction part he needs no help with.

A Single Man

2009 / 99m - USA
A Single Man poster

Tom Ford's first is pretty much what I expected a Tom Ford film to be. A brooding romantic drama, leisurely narrated with lots of room for mood and atmosphere. I even got some slight In The Mood for Love vibes from it, except that it's not quite as stylish and delicate as Kar-Wai's films. Then again, that's quite a high bar for someone's first ever film.

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George is a gay professor living in Los Angeles. Ever since he lost his lover in a car accident, he's been looking for a reason to carry on. His job doesn't really give him satisfaction and an old friend is struggling with similar issues. But then George meets Kenny, a student of him who seems to be interested in George's personal life.

The production design is lush, the cinematography stylish, the score quite present but always an asset. Firth is at the top of his game here, Hoult is probably the weakest link. The final third didn't really hit me like the first hour did, but if you love an atmospheric drama, this film is well worth seeking out.