Nocturnal Animals

Rated 4.0

Tom Ford made his name as a fashion designer and creative director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, so when he released his 2009 directorial debut A Single Man, it was hard to tell if Ford was a cinematic devotee or a dilettante. It didn’t help that the film was eminently tasteful and immaculately appointed, as much designed as directed, the sort of bloodless actors’ showcase created to court awards voters. Seven years later, Ford delivers his follow-up film Nocturnal Animals, and it finally feels like he means business. The storytelling is both more refined and more brutishly personal, and the film strikes a balance between inscrutability and accessibility, between Lynch-ian art horror and Deliverance-like exploitation. A Single Man was the work of a talented tourist; this is the work of a true filmmaker. Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow, an art gallery owner whose life has become a series of false surfaces. D.B.