Near-naked ladies cavort on the enlarged frame in slow-motion close-up. The sizeable sirens brazenly fill the dimensions of our headspace with their Rubenesque, carefree side-shuffling and baton twirling. They seem to seductively dance for our pleasure, irrespective of how uncomfortable the close proximity of the over-sharing spectacle may make us feel. The camera then shows us they are the latest video installation at Susan Morrow’s (Amy Adams) achingly trendy L.A. gallery, where the staff dress like deconstructed asterisks, punctuating their own lives with unspoken disclaimers. You have been watching A Piece of Art. If you can get on board with those knowingly reflexive opening scenes, in which the notions of conventional beauty and desire collide with the darker impulses and repulses coursing through our collective consciousness, then you’ll be fine with director / fashion designer Tom Ford’s tale of Morrow’s wispy midlife crisis, onset by the delivery of her ex-husband’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) potentially auto-metaphorical manuscript. Discussions surrounding Nocturnal Animals may focus on Tom Ford’s apparent rejection of the glamorous world that afforded him recognition, but the film offers us much more than just surface depth.
This 200 word capsule review is published at PopMatters.com, where you can read the rest of the feature for free.