Fresh from its awards triumph at the Venice Film Festival and screenings in Toronto, we now have a very tantalizing look at the first trailer for Tom Ford’s knotty, naughty psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals.
Much like the evocative first trailer for Ford’s 2009 filmmaking debut A Single Man, this two-minute preview doesn’t delve into the plot of Nocturnal Animals. We do learn that a woman named Susan (Amy Adams) had an ex-husband “who used to call me a ‘nocturnal animal.'” And he’s written a book, Susan says, “that’s violent and it’s sad — and he dedicated it to me.”
From there, the trailer provocatively captures the texture and color and the fantastic sinisterness of Ford’s film. The plot features two different narratives, plus deep flashbacks within one of them. But there’s no delineation here. All blended together in one ice-cold deep-red imagery smoothie, we catch glimpses of Adams as Susan, scenes from the book manuscript she’s reading (which features Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a spooky Texas thriller) and flashes from earlier in Susan’s life, including with her mother (Laura Linney) and that ex-husband (Gyllenhaal again). Through the subtlest changes in the hair and makeup, Gyllenhaal and Adams appears in their flashbacks scenes as if they’d shot them 15 years ago.
“For me, the film is so much about the choices we make in our life,” Ford told EW recently while discussing Nocturnal Animals. “I mean, really, we give stuff up so easily. That’s basically what Susan did. And I found that was relevant to me. I do believe in a certain moral to the story and creating a narrative that people can relate to — so for me the film is ultimately about this throw-away culture that many of us live in. And isn’t that why we all end up regretting things so much?”
Those are big words coming from one of the world’s most important and successful fashion designers. Adams was drawn to the material because of what she saw as Ford’s nuance and sensitivity, particularly in the writing of the Susan character. “I realized that I was sort of what Tom would be if he was a woman,” the five-time Oscar nominee says. “It was how he was styling me but also the other aspects of Tom — all the attention of detail and all the passion and the precision. The way that Tom explained Susan’s emotions and where she was in relationship to what was happening in the story was actually a really wonderful thing to participate in.”
Not much of that character development can be gleaned from this trailer — as it should be, of course, and as one would expect coming from a director who knows a thing or two about the art of unveiling. Instead, we’re treated to these little gold flakes of information, beginning with this:
The Focus Features logo is ordinarily presented on a blue and green color scale. “Hope it’s all right that I changed that,” Ford told EW this summer with his signature mischievous smile. “I haven’t cleared it with Focus yet.” No worries — it’s totally cleared now — and totally marvelous as a cue to the movie’s ripe, crimson tone.
Gyllenhaal is standing in the rain. We can see someone — or at least his jawline — in the rearview mirror. Who is that?
The long, dirty fingernails are one thing, but, um, what’s with that little girl’s pinky ring? You’ll only have a second to catch it, but near the end of the trailer, you can see whose body this hand belongs to.
There’s also only just a quick flash frame here of Ford’s bold, challenging opening credits sequence. We’re mum on the details for now, but it is sure to be one of the most talked-about commencements to any film this year. And Ford, of course, has some fascinating insights to share. (Stay tuned.)
The music in the trailer. Though the talented composer Abel Korzeniowski (A Single Man, Penny Dreadful) wrote the lush, haunting Hitchcockian score for Nocturnal Animals, this piece in the trailer is by the brilliant maestro Ludovico Einaudi.
Nocturnal Animals opens in theaters on Nov. 18. See the character posters below, and keep checking back to EW.com for more updates on the film.