Venice: Tom Ford, Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal Discuss Love and Revenge in 'Nocturnal Animals'

Nocturnal Animals -Still 2-H 2016
Courtesy of Merrick Morton Universal Pictures International

The much-buzzed-about Venice film puts a new type of closure on relationships.

Tom Ford returns to the director’s seat seven years after his masterful debut 2009’s A Single Man with a new film that is once again taking Venice by storm, Nocturnal Animals.

Amy Adams plays a high-powered art gallery owner who receives a mysterious manuscript from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal), a violent thriller that she interprets as a dark revenge story and forces her to confront her past.

Isla Fisher plays Gyllenhaal's wife in the enactment of the novel, and Michael Shannon is a fierce Southern detective investigating the violent crime that has shaken the fictional story. In a third layer of the film, flashbacks reveal the early relationship between Adams and Gyllenhaal.

There's already Oscar talk surrounding multiple categories of the film. The fashion designer/director flew to Venice for just 24 hours in the middle of launching his spring/summer 2017 collection at New York Fashion Week, which is just around the corner on Sept. 7. 

Ford apologized for the gap in his filmmaking and promised that despite his many other commitments, it wouldn’t be so long until the next one. “Yes, yes I’m sorry," he joked. "It kills me that is was seven years. Three years, two years, yes."

While many early reviews have hailed the film as a masterful revenge story, the filmmaker insists it’s anything but a story of revenge.

“Even though we have a painting in this film that says, ‘Revenge,’ it really isn’t so much about revenge,” said Ford. “It’s letting someone know the devastation that they caused you.”

Gyllenhaal explained that it was Ford's personal relationship to the story that drew him to the material. “I know that it’s not a movie about revenge,” said Gyllenhaal matter-of-factly. “I know deep inside the expression of what you feel when you’re telling someone who’s hurt you is actually an expression of love.

“That’s all that he’s trying to say is ‘I loved you. We loved each other and we had an opportunity that we both squandered and goodbye.' I don’t think that’s revenge at all. I think that’s very loving,” continued Gyllenhaal.

“Oh, revenge,” laughed Adams, thinking about how the story relates to her own life. “I have fantasies of revenge. I probably would never do them. Because, ultimately I don’t know that revenge is very satisfying. It doesn’t really fix it.”

Ford also clarified that the shocking ending of the film is one that is full of hope. “The end of this film is uplifting, because this woman is not going back to her life. That’s it. This has been something that has pulled the plug. You don’t know what she’s going to do,” he said. “It’s in a sense a tragedy but it’s also a transformation.”