amy-adams-in-nocturnal-animalsCelebrated designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford stumbles a bit with his second cinematic foray, the much anticipated Nocturnal Animals. This is a film that pulses with Ford’s stylish directorial flourishes but ultimately does not deliver on the promise of its revenge themed plot, unless your idea of revenge is standing someone up for dinner. It’s an admittedly good looking package on the surface to be sure. That may be enough for some viewers but those looking for the beating heart that was ever present in Ford’s debut feature A Single Man will be most disappointed.

Amy Adams turns in her usually flawless performance in the film as art gallery owner and socialite Susan Morrow, who years ago left her husband, Edward Sheffield (an equally good Jake Gyllenhaal) and is now having second thoughts. Especially since her second husband (Armie Hammer) is turning out to be a philanderer and Edward seems to be well on his way to a career as a successful novelist.

Susan has just received an early copy of Edward’s latest novel at the film’s onset, a brutal tale of rape/murder and revenge. The story thread toggles back and forth between Susan and Edward’s marriage­­‑told in flashbacks‑and the story he’s written which she feels may be payback for an injustice she committed during their relationship.

The biggest problem is that the two story threads in the film never really congeal as one. It’s as if we’re watching two separate films that really have nothing to do with each other. This may be a stylish affair but it’s also much ado about nothing when it finally comes down to it.

Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals is playing in Charlotte.  Write Adam at [email protected]