The new trailer for Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals may not offer much insight into what the movie is about, but it certainly offers a sense of how you’re meant to feel when you watch it: very, very anxious. What begins as an innocent love story on a snowy New York evening between Susan (Amy Adams) and Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) quickly segues into a bitter, violent revenge saga playing out across a dusty West Texas landscape.
The thriller is constructed as a story-within-a-story. Susan receives the manuscript of a novel written by her ex-husband, Edward, and the movie weaves together the present day (Susan, engrossed in the book), flashbacks (to happier times with Edward) and scenes from the novel (in which Gyllenhaal plays the husband and Isla Fisher, his redheaded wife, pretty clearly a stand-in for the wife who betrayed him). Michael Shannon shows up as a hardened Texas sheriff in Edward’s novel, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the kind of guy you don’t want to meet on the empty road to Marfa in the middle of the night.
Success may be the best revenge, but Nocturnal Animals, which hits select theaters Nov. 18 and expands nationwide Dec. 9., makes a pretty compelling case that writing a novel is a close second.