The first and second editions of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley comprised the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Third Edition includes a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order. Available in all bookstores and on Kindle.  


Nocturnal Animals (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 116 minutes.

Not for children.

Inspired by Austin Wright’s novel, Tony and Susan (1993), this is a complex tale of a lonely woman, Susan Morrow (Amy Adams), who is involved in cold marriage to Hutton (Arnie Hammer). She gets a manuscript in the mail from her first husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). She starts reading it after Hutton leaves on an obvious pretext to continue an affair with another woman, and the movie is a juxtaposition between Susan’s life as she is living it, and her interpretation of Edward’s brutal story about Tony and Laura Hastings (Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher, respectively) and their daughter, India (Ellie Bamber), who are accosted on a deserted highway by a ring of bad guys led by Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

One feels that Susan views Edward’s tale as a metaphor for her life, and that he is speaking directly to her.

While for the most part the acting is good, the most affecting performance is given by Michael Shannon who plays Bobby Andes, the laconic policeman who investigates what happened to the Hastings. Gyllenhaal is effective as the husband in the novel. I’m not sure why Adams signed on to this because not much is required of her other than to look depressed and lost.

This is a constantly tense downer, written and directed by Tom Ford. The theme is loneliness, and it’s expertly captured by the cinematography (Seamus McGarvey), the production design (Shane Valentino) and the music (Abel Korzeniowski).

The problem with the film is that the story within the story is better than the story. Edward’s novel is much more interesting and developed than Susan’s life. In fact, the conclusion one is likely to reach about Susan is, so what? If Ford had asked me for comments on his script, I would have told him to dump Susan and just tell the story of Edward’s novel and leave it at that. He raises issues about Susan and her life and then just leaves them hanging.

This won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I don’t think anyone will fall asleep watching it, at least while they are watching Edward’s suspenseful novel, which is the better part of the movie, and that may be taken both ways.