Nightcrawler (2014)

nightcrawler_2014_poster
Nightcrawler (2014)
  • Time: 117 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Dan Gilroy
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo

Storyline:

Louis Bloom is something of a loner who is unemployed and ekes out a living stealing and then reselling copper wire, fencing and most anything else he can get his hands on. When late one night he comes across an accident being filmed by independent news photographer Joe Loder, he thinks he may have found something he would be good at. He acquires an inexpensive video camera and a police scanner and is soon spending his nights racing to accidents, robberies and fire scenes. He develops a working relationship with Nina Romina, news director for a local LA TV station. As the quality of his video footage improves so does his remuneration and he hires Rick, young and unemployed, to work with him. The more successful he becomes however, the more apparent it becomes that Louis will do anything – anything – to get visuals from crime scenes.

12 reviews

  • Rarely do I see a movie where I’m hyped so instantly…………..the need to write a review is more a compulsion.

    As a character study it’s fascinating, as a subject matter it’s fresh and as a movie it’s a modern day classic, destined for greatness. The script, pacing, performances, framing, score everything is operating at the highest level.

    Meet Lou Bloom, a loner who receives no backstory whatsoever, trust me you don’t need any. Well Lou is looking for employment, in search of the American Dream when he happens upon a car crash and witnesses the so called ‘Nightcrawlers’, people who race to crime scenes to capture footage to sell to the news media. Now this is a job he was born for, he’s got everything planned out to the minutest detail, get your applications in, he may well want to hire you.

    Watching Gyllenhaal’s Bloom is like seeing Truman Burbank on acid, ‘I always say, if you see me you’re having the worst day of your life’. The nearest comparison I can think of is De Niro’s Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver” but at least he was out for revenge which establishes some sort of moral high ground, whereas here Lou Bloom has none. I’ve seen the word ‘sociopath’ being used to describe him and I can’t be bothered to find another when this incapsulates him so perfectly. Gyllenhaal carries the entire movie on his shoulders, if he isn’t nominated in the best Actor category next year then I want names and numbers of the voters. My god we’re a long way away from Prince of Persia now, aren’t we Jake. He commands the screen from start to end, you simply cannot take your eyes off him.

    I’m still struggling to pinpoint exactly what it is that made me love this as much as I did. It’s too soon after seeing it, I’m still in a heady daze/movie nirvana state, but I can already tell that I’ll be thinking about it for days. When can I see this again? Is now too soon. It’s as if it was especially made just for me.

    ‘The closer you look, the darker it gets’ is one of the tag lines and this is right on the money, so if your film tastes lean towards the dark side then you may also think it’s been especially made for you too. When you have a character devoid of any moral centre embarking on a career path where the boundaries of right and wrong are blurred at best, you have a recipe for movie dynamite, Walter White ring any bells.

    The film poses a plethora of moral conundrums and before you can get your thoughts around the first you’re plunged headfirst into the next, over and over until they literally spiral out of control, one after the other.

    I loved the shot of Bloom and Romina negotiating prices in front of a paused picture which shall remain unexplained for fear of spoilers, but trying to point out individual highlights is futile, it’s simply a magnificent whole.

    I could harp on about Rene Russo this or Bill Paxton that but what’s the point it’s all about Jake Gyllenhaal and writer/director Dan Gilroy, I must also give credit to Cinematographer Robert Elswit too, no wonder P.T Anderson swears by you. Using Bloom’s viewfinder to shoot the restaurant gun fight was pure genius. It’s funny because a couple walked out as this scene was beginning to build, haha go on then leave, you wouldn’t know a decent film if it bit you on the arse, how can you walk out? How can you not see the sheer quality on display here?

    I absolutely adored this 9/10.

  • Looking for post-Halloween drama that will leave you creeped out? Well look no further, Nightcrawler follows Lou Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy), who finds his calling as a crime journalist, he dedicates his time getting to crime scenes before anyone else to get the best shots, even if it means tampering with scenes, all so he can sell them to KWLA TV-news station. It’s a slow-paced film, with a lot of slow building long scenes, in an attempt to build the intensity. This works really well with the style of the film where we (as the audience) see exactly what Lou is filming.

    It’s clear from the moment we meet Lou, that he is not right, he is a man with no morals and one belief “If you want to win the lottery, you have to earn the money to buy a ticket”. He’s not afraid to get what he wants, no matter the cost, from mild thievery to the point of attempted murder, “if it bleeds, it leads”. Lou is a quick learner and within a mere two months (which seems far too quick if you ask me) he turns from amateur to master manipulator, making sure he’s the one getting all the money in his pocket.

    Click here for the full review – http://roapreviews.com/2014/11/03/nightcrawler/

  • Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where beauty and rot are conjoined twins. Teeming with beautiful people, but also festering with hustlers and parasites willing to do anything to achieve their personal American dream. One such individual is Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), first seen attacking a security guard and stealing copper wire, a chain link fence and manhole covers, which he then sells off to a scrapyard owner.

    Lou is no ordinary grifter, he’s an ambitious lad set on establishing himself as an entrepreneur. “Good things come to those who work their asses off,” he intones. He accidentally finds his calling as the titular nightcrawler, someone who films footage of accidents and other crimes and then sells it to local TV stations. Trading in a stolen bike for a camcorder and police scanner, Lou familiarises himself with the police codes and rushes to various crime scenes in the hopes of getting something sellable.

    Click here for the complete review

  • Nightcrawler. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton. Directed by Dan Gilroy (Reel Steel and Bourne Supremacy).
    Lou Bloom is unemployed desperate for work sociopath; he is desperate to enter the murky world of crime journalism after an accidental collision with other freelance camera crews, he gets an insight into the cut throat business of night crawling for hard line news. With every police and fire engine siren or a gunshot noise comes big bucks and a step forward in his pursuit for being accepted as well as respected in Lou Bloom’s new field of work. With a ruthless business plan, he will stop at nothing to get to where he wants be. People are a formality to Lou and “to win the lottery you need to earn the money to buy the lottery ticket”.
    You won’t see a better thriller in the last couple of years. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Britain’s own Riz Ahmed give great individual performances. In my opinion, this film should be nominated for an academy award. If you haven’t checked this film out then make it a priority. You won’t regret it. 7.5/10

  • The fact is that motivation to succeed can be a powerful drive to make something out of ourself in this life. In America, the land of opportunity, in densely pact, excessively rich and extremely poor population of L.A, divided only by neighborhoods that sometime resemble ghettos, especially in downtown area, some people will go an extra mille to put themselves in the position to succeed at all cost. That ambition can be truly dangerous whenever the individual lacks a moral backbone. Add to it, a sociopathic personality disorder and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Louis Bloom the protagonist of the thriller the “Nightcrawler” displays all above mentioned characteristics. He is extremely ambitious and morally distorted which allowed him to pursue one of the most looked down up on professions in news broadcasting industry. He becomes a Nightcrawler mixture of paparazzi and investigative reporter which investigates all the major crime scenes in search of the footage, that can be sold to TV news companies that are interested in this sort of material.

    “Louis (Jake Gyllenhaal) starts a freelance camera crew who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, he muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling — where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Nina (Rene Russo), a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou thrives. In the breakneck, ceaseless search for footage, he becomes the star of his own story”

    “Nightcrawler” is a directorial debut of the screenwriter husband of Rene Russo, Dan Gilroy. Being born in L.A, Gilroy clearly understands this town better then most people. The amount of people who come to Hollywood to become famous at all cost is staggering. I use to live in Los Angeles and being a night owl I liked driving through the empty streets of L.A without a traffic at night. During the night time there is a sense of peace and calm that usually turns in to chaos and traffic jams during the day. Of course there are neighborhoods which are dangerous to drive around specially at night and it takes someone with a death wish to really push their luck.

    Apparently Jake Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds to play Louis Bloom and this might have been bit of a marketing ploy by the producers to give an extra attention to dramatic weight loss which was not really needed for the development of the character. Watching his performance another great character comes to mind Travis Bickle played to perfection by Bob DeNiro in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver”. Both character are lonely individuals that want to do something with their life. Perhaps Louis Bloom has a better vocabulary and is able to express his thoughts well in sort of intellectual vocabulary diarrhea that gets him often the things he wants. Taking the gimmicky weight loss aside I must say Jake delivers one of his better characterizations full of moments that make his character transform in to a sociopathic individual who want to succeed at all cost. The relationship between him and his news producer played by still beautiful Rene Russo is full of sexuality which often is a driving force behind most successful performances. I don’t know if his performance is good enough to receive a nomination for an Oscar next year, but it is captivating and entertaining enough to justify the price of the ticket. In “Nightcrawler” writer/director asks a lot of interesting moral questions about why our society is so focused on negativity and drives us towards stories of murder and tragedies that are shown on TV. Apparently the negative type of news take upon the highest amount of screening time in every TV station. Why do TV stations compete to bring the most vicious crimes on to out TV sets? Are we a part of the problem? Is our society so desensitized that the only thing that can interest the mass audience are bloodthirsty tragedies that most people fill up their heads with? Sadly the answer might be resounding YES whether we like it or not. Our morbid fascination with crime, does not put forth peaceful future for our children, but for the time being might become a source of entertainment whether we want to admit that or not. Precisely that is what Dan Gilroy explores in his movie and by identifying with the protagonist he forces the audience to think deeply about their moral compass and willingness to succeed at all costs. “Nightcrawler” is a good thriller which can be recommended for the lovers of a fast paced thrill seeking cinema.

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  • Nightcrawler turned out to be a surprise gruesome, psychotic, weird thriller which made an interesting watch thanks to stupendous performance by Jake Gyllenhaal and powerful storyline.

    When jobless and desperate guy gets the idea of crime journalism, he digs his own way and reaches to the top with help from a news veteran, of course in a crooked way.

    First time director, Dan Gilroy , does a fabulous job with strong story and gripping script. Direction is crunchy adding taste to the film every time new scene turns up. The beautiful nightlife of LA adds charms to the cinematography. Hats off to Jake Gyllenhaal who gets into the character of Louis Bloom so effortlessly that it is difficult to identify any other actor playing that part. He is horrifying as a news reporter who can get into any length to achieve success. It is the evil character that you feel weird , funny, angry and yet captivating. He emotes so accurately through his expressions and is complete natural. Rene Russo does well in a small role

    So overall , superb intellectual movie in all respect. Must Watch. Excellent 4/5

  • Finally an original story. “Nightcrawler” takes the audience into the world of a business that few of us know very much about. The world of nightcrawling, aka recording brutal and terrifying scenes of accidents and crimes in order to sell the footage to news stations. That is the premise of the film, which doesn’t sound that appealing when you first hear it, but there is a twist to the story. The twist is our main character, Lou Bloom, played flawlessly by Jake Gyllenhaal.

    Lou is what makes the story interesting. He is a very stubborn, focused and hardworking young man who is trying to discover what he is good at in life and make money off of it. After witnessing a camera crew shoot the scene of a horrific car wreck, Lou decides to take a crack at the business himself. In a business that already borders on the line of what is ethical and what isn’t, Lou takes it a step further. Without spoiling the film too much, I will just say he manipulates everything and everyone around him in order to get an edge on the competition and get to the top.

    Jake is superb in this role. In my opinion, it is his finest work to date. I always find myself awestruck when actors are able to transform themselves for a role. Frail and gaunt is how Jake pictured Lou when he read over his character, so he decided to drop 20 pounds by working out 8 hours a day and eating very little. I think it worked because Lou’s appearance very much fits his character.

    Dan Gilroy really caught my attention in his directorial debut. The scenes are stylish and creepy, just how I imagine the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles looks at 2 AM. He also filmed one of the best car chases I have seen in a movie in years. Very impressive work and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

    Nightcrawler is easily one of the best films of 2014.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal has been one of the most talented actors in Hollywood for some time now. He started his career as a child actor, with his breakthrough performance coming in the wonderful ‘Donnie Darko’. The best performance of his career undoubtedly came in Ang Lee’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’. A performance for which he received an Oscar nomination as well. Since then he’s starred in some very good movies such as David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’, David Ayer’s police drama ‘End of Watch’ as well as Duncan Jones’s Sci-Fi thriller ‘Source Code’. His last two films, ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Enemy’ have both been collaborations with Canadian director Denis Villeneuve have shown his acting range and versatility. However never before have we seen a side of Gyllenhaal quite like the one he shows us in ‘Nightcrawler’.

    Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler follows the story of Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal), an ambitious young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat and dangerous game of nightcrawling. The film also stars Riz Ahmad, Rene Russo and Bill Paxton. As a movie, Nightcrawler does well, it’s a pulsating and thrilling ride that keeps you at the edge of your seat, Dan Gilroy does well behind the camera on his directorial debut and provides us with some amazing action sequences. However, ultimately it’s Gyllenhaal’s movie who gives and absolutely amazing performance. One of his quotes from the movie that really stayed with me was: ‘If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket’, And this really highlights Gyllenhaal’s character throughout the movie, A driven and relentless man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The movie offers a compelling character study and watching Gyllenhaal’s persona develop on-screen is truly fascinating. Gyllenhaal plays a true sociopath, one that perhaps rivals the likes of De Niro’s Travis Bickle as well as Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman. You know he’s a bad person, a cynic yet you find yourself rooting for him. Many have described this movie as a media satire, i can definitely see that, The depiction of media in this movie is certainly satirical, how a news channel will do anything to get good ratings which means abandoning all morals is evident. This element of the movie is something that seems to be inspired by the 1976 classic ‘Network’. Watching Louis navigate through the streets of L.A is another great thing this movie offers which is a unique cinematic experience in itself that can be both extraordinary and shocking to watch. Riz Ahmed and Rene Russo offer good support in their supporting capacity and the sharp cinematography captures the dark mood of the movie perfectly.

    If the movie ever lacks in something it’s not giving a proper background as to how someone like Lou came about. We are presented with such a fascinating character but never told how he became like this. Also, some scenes just seem to be passing the time, where we see Lou just going to different sites and filming the incidents that took place, This drags down the pace of the movie.

    All in all, Nightcrawler is a terrific movie and one of the year’s best. It succeeds mainly due to Jake Gyllenhaal’s intense, off the wall performance and Dan Gilroy’s steady direction as well as it’s unique story. I wold highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys social commentaries and character driven films.

    Final Score: 8.9/10

    -Khalid Rafi

    More Movie Reviews at: filmfanaticmovieblog.wordpress.com

  • Dan Gilroy makes his directorial debut with 2014’s Nightcrawler. You wouldn’t know it though because he comes off as a veritable, seasoned pro. Take the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles and make them seem unsafe. Take a calculated, free-fall actor and let him roam wild. Film a car chase that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up, and make the storytelling interesting, absorbing, creepy, disturbing, and even nervously funny. That’s what Gilroy does here. For 95% percent of “Crawler’s” running time, I was blown away. I laughed, I cringed, and I sat numb and transfixed. Only an undeveloped interrogation by L.A.’s finest and a stomach-flu induced ending could keep me from calling this thing flawless. Would I endorse this exercise as realistic? Probably not. I watch the news everyday and it doesn’t seem fathomable that dead bodies with grisly images would actually be shown on television. But you can’t deny how fascinating or how original these proceedings are. Nightcrawler is one bitch of a ride. And sadly, I almost feel guilty for recommending it.

    With a film score that doesn’t always trend towards the dour, a disregard for the L.A.P.D ever pulling over a excessively speeding motorist, and a look/feel that harks back to 2004’s Collateral (also taking place in the city of angels), Nightcrawler gets you fixated on Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal). He’s unemployed, a thief, and a real weird dude. You don’t know anything about him except for the fact that he becomes obsessed with filming crime scenes in order to pocket some cold hard cash (through the fictional Channel 6 news). He uses a police monitor, finds out where crimes are committed, and captures the hideous bloodlettings on video camera. He gets paid monster dollars for these trysts but eventually gets in over his head when he gets there before the police. There’s an investigation on him, he almost gets charged for murder, but Bloom although lacking in social skills, is smarter than everyone. He starts to blackmail his newswoman, his co-workers, and the whole plank of Southern California. All the while he has his sunglasses on, he puts up a steely face, and gives the middle finger to anyone who might get in his way.

    Now the cast for Nightcrawler is proficient and noteworthy. Their roles are equal parts nasty, mean-spirited, unethical, and cold. Bill Paxton is as always, reliable playing a supporting role as a fellow rival to Bloom. He’s jealous, angry, and ultimately pays the price for being his videotaping rival. Rene Russo (Gilroy’s spouse in real life) is ravishing and frigid as Nina (she manages the news station where Bloom sells his findings). She wants ratings, wants respect, and doesn’t give a hoot about what’s right and what’s wrong. Then we have Riz Ahmed as Rick. As Bloom’s sidekick, he’s startlingly effective. He may be poor and unwanted, but he still has a sense of decency and with a few un-choice words, goes down in a wave of palatable flames. Oh and did I forget to mention the great Jake Gyllenhaal. So OK, I’ve always been a huge fan. He never ceases to amaze me of how inventive an actor he is. If you’ve seen his nerve-endings brilliance in Prisoners and Zodiac, nothing will prepare you for how perfect he is in this role. It’s obvious that he lost weight to play Bloom. You can see his cheeks sucked in, his gangly appearance, and his eyeballs looking like flying saucers that might just haunt your dreams. Daniel Day Lewis was in every frame of There Will Be Blood and held the screen in the palm of his hand. Gyllenhaal does it with a similar approach here but he goes a step further. He holds the screen like a molecule that can only be seen by the naked eye. Oscar nom anybody? I sure as heck hope so. Oh and did I mention that Jakey boy channels a little Travis Bickle a la Taxi Driver. He drives around L.A. just like Bickle drove around N.Y.C, is socially inept like Bickle, but he talks a little faster, looks a tad more desperate, and doesn’t have a back story or nullified Mohawk like Robert De Niro’s infamous, repressed psycho. To endorse Gyllenhaal, I’ll give a short dissertation: There is no other actor in world that could have played Lou Bloom and I mean no one. No one!

    In conclusion, with superior yet far fetched direction from Gilroy and a social commentary that will cause your jaw to pretty much slam to the ground, Nightcrawler is the type of dark, L.A. based calamity that will “crawl” into one’s head and stay there. It’s horrifically brilliant because its main lead (Gyllenhaal) is astute in the most creepy, habitual way. For my money, one of the best films of 2014. Let the Oscar race begin!

    Of note: (Spoiler alert) I’m gonna warn you, the last twenty minutes of this cynical, pale-hearted vehicle may upset you or leave you with a severely bad taste in your mouth. If you’ve seen Nightcrawler’s trailer, you’ve probably figured out that Lou Bloom is the perennial bad guy. Well you’re right. I for one hate when the bad guy wins and this is exactly what happens. In truth, this is the only stipulation I have for relegating a true four star rating.

    Check out other reviews on my blog: http://www.viewsonfilm.com

  • TMS Score: ★★★★★
    (Cinematic Classic, 10/10, A-)
    One of the most timely and culturally relevant films ever!

    I won’t beat around the bush here; this film is absolutely outstanding! It’s a captivating thriller from start to finish. It’s as striking a film and central performance as Gone Girl, but without the seemingly obvious plot holes, bizarre character decisions and much more plausible themes. Every once in a while a film comes around at just the right time to capture the essence of a particular period and I believe Nightcrawler achieves this in a similar way Her did last year. I can’t think of a more relevant analogy of today’s corporate culture, news media and the entertainment industry.

    Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an out of work and somewhat eccentric young man trying to make it in LA. While he’s clearly optimistic and driven, he just can’t seem to find the right opportunity. He spends his time trying just about anything to make a buck (including breaking the law). One night he randomly stumbles across an accident and notices the men filming it. With that chance encounter, Lou is ushered into the world of late night crime journalism; also known as Nightcrawling. Almost immediately, Lou believes this kind of work is something he’d excel at. While his initial forays into the business are unsuccessful, he eventually gets a break when he meets Nina (Rene Russo), a well seasoned TV newswoman who is always in the market for compelling footage. Having broken into the market, every late night tragedy now becomes a new opportunity; and Lou doesn’t hesitate to capitalize on them. But the more successful he becomes and the further he rises in the business, the more clear it is that Lou is more than a just a savvy business man.

    First off, Jake Gynlenhal (recently of Prisoners and Enemy) is memorizing as Lou Bloom! I couldn’t turn away from the screen as his commitment to the role is why this film works. Gynlenhal’s Lou undergoes a kind of metamorphosis; at first he exudes the determination and drive you can’t help but cheer for (and maybe see a bit of yourself in). Then he slowly develops and learns to wield his intellect and use cunning to his advantage. But eventually his zeal and tenacity become something else entirely. You don’t really realize what’s happened until it’s obvious; Lou Bloom is a monster. And he’s the kind of monster you don’t see coming because he doesn’t do it what a hatchet or a chain saw, but with a smile. It’s brilliant work really and the effectiveness of Gynlenhal’s performance is hard to deny.

    This is the best Gynlenhal performance I’ve ever seen (especially recently and yes this is better than his Brokeback Mountain role). I’ve been rarely captivated by a performance like this outside of David Oyelowo’s MLK in Selma and Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. How only one of these three is nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. But Jake isn’t the only star here. Renne Russo (recently of Thor and who seems to be making a comeback) is brilliant as the hardened, “do whatever it takes to get the ratings” Producer Nina. She’s clearly underrated here as her vile, slimy character goes almost unnoticed for most of the film. It’s not until near the end of the film that you realize that she’s really not that much different than Lou.

    There’s a great scene where Nina is confronted by another member of the news team (Kevin Rahm from Mad Men) about airing footage that goes against virtually every rule of responsible journalism. Nina dismisses him in such a swift and ruthless manner it’s amazing to watch; his reaction so succinctly captures the horror of it all (I had the exact same reaction watching it!) it’s nothing short of brilliant. Russo’s award worthy turn as this repulsive figure is what makes that scene one of the best of the year; she had to deliver a strong performance here to rival Jake’s and she succeeds in doing so. The cinematography was also perfect for this film; for his directorial debut I don’t think Dan Gilory could’ve chosen a more fitting location than LA to tell this story. The backdrop of the LA night only seems to heighten the horror of it all, the sliminess, the treachery. The city were so many go to extraordinary lengths to achieve fame and notoriety is the perfect breading ground for this kind of business (in both art and life). This film is also paced every well, you don’t feel a second of it’s near two hours and I found myself hoping it just wouldn’t end.

    But more importantly this film is effective because the story and it’s themes worked for me on so many levels. The rags to riches element of Lou’s rise kept me engaged as I always find those kinds of stories compelling, but the parallels to the current media were immediate (if not obvious). It’s easy to see this film as a critique of the culture of our news media; which seems these days to focus more on entertainment, ratings and driving narrative, instead of providing information and educating viewers. Nina mirrors this precisely in her pursuit of a great story and it’s chilling how clear the similarities are. Think about it? How often do you find yourself wandering why the news is covering celebrities and their lives as opposed to real news?

    Another element portrayed here is the TMZ effect in the media; the “get the story first” approach of the media. To desire to get the salacious footage or the private phone call at any cost, with no consideration whatsoever for the people involved or how this will affect them. If this isn’t relevant to today’s media, I don’t know what is. In the film Lou stops at nothing to not only get the story first, but to create a particular narrative to feed into the viewer’s already preconceived notions and fears. I found myself looking inward and asking is this the kind of behavior we’re rewarding when we watch the latest TMZ video? Is this what we’re craving when we revel is the fall on a public figure because of a private conversation or their personal beliefs? The answer seems to be yes, and that’s alarming. The fact is the news and entertainment media has fused together to become what I call edutainment. And we’re the proverbial pigs that constantly feed at this trough.

    Nightcrawler is also very much about corporate greed and the steps that some companies take to keep profits. Lou does everything in his power to use, manipulate and discard an employee when necessary in is this film solely to keep the majority share of his new enterprise; with no sincerity, remorse or consideration for this employee. I don’t need to mention how many times we’ve seen corporations do this in recent times. When we watch these characters on film we cringe and believe they are horrible, despicable people. Yet in business, we call these people successful people. You have to ask yourself… why is that? Now you may be thinking, OK, that’s a bit of a stretch. But is it really? To answer this answer, I had to recall a documentary I watched a while back called The Corporation. In this documentary they analysed and studied the behaviors of various corporations and attempted to equate their behavior to that of a real person. And what kind of person did their research find most resembled a corporation? A psychopath. What The Corporation mused about in theory, Nightcrawler illustrates perfectly on screen. Gyllenhaal fully embodies the process of becoming a monster and it’s really chilling to watch unfold.

    So does Nightcrawler have a “happy ending”? That depends on your definition of one. If Lou were a corporation we’d say it’s reached a new summit of success and would call it a successful, profitable, company. And if we’re being honest, we don’t really care how it got there, as long as it provides something we want. Is this what it takes to succeed in today’s world? It’s unsettling to even consider, but I believe people like this are “succeeding” in life. They may very well be at the helm of many powerful companies and organizations. But these kinds of psychopaths won’t physically bludgeon you to death with a knife, but with a smile while wearing an exquisitely tailored suit. And this is why Nightcrawer is probably the most important films you’ll see this year. It seems impossible to watch this and not be concerned or horrified in some way. Given the state of our society’s media and shrewd corporate practices, we should be.

    For more of my reviews, check me out at here: http://www.themoviesnob.ca


  • “My motto is if you want to win the lottery you’ve got to make money to get a ticket.”

    What a brilliant performance by Gyllenhaal in this rather morbid and exciting thriller. At times I was wondering whether it was meant to be amusing and jokingly or that it was intended to be presented as a serious and shocking story. Judging from my own chuckling at times and disbelief about what was being shown, I could only conclude that ultimately it was a mix of both. And it’s masterly portrayed by Gyllenhaal, the chameleon of Hollywood and someone I do appreciate very much as an actor. After his appearance in “Prisoners” (which was an exceptionally exciting film) and the arty movie “Enemy” (as a story it was not my cup of tea, but in terms of performances it was again a success) just like Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” he transformed physically into a gaunt, pale-looking good-for-nothing. Initially, he looks like a marginal person with a mental disability, but as you get to know him better, you come to the conclusion that he’s extremely intellectual and has a kind of photographic memory. The way he quotes chunks of information that he has read on the Internet is pretty impressive. Louis Bloom is not exactly a simple figure but rather a cunning and manipulative character.

    The whole story starts with Lou in the process of cutting a fence. He’s initially no more than an insignificant criminal who earns his money by stealing copper and the like. Until he witnesses an accident one night on one of the highways around Los Angeles and he sees a freelance reporter (Bill Paxton) capturing the whole thing on film and after wards selling it to the highest possible price so that it can be used for the morning news. Lou doesn’t waste any time and purchases a simple camcorder and police scanner. Immediately an assistant (Riz Ahmed) is being contracted and he hits the streets every night to film police interventions. His unconstrained personality and unscrupulous approach, ensure that he can capture pretty sensational images, allowing him to conquer a permanent position at the local station KWLA6. Here it’s Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who rules as news editor. The straightforward film style of Lou appeals to her. As a sensation channel the presented footages can’t be bloody enough. As she clearly stated : “The best and clearest way that I can phrase it for you, to capture the spirit of what we air, is think of our news cast as a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut”.

    As the title “Nightcrawler” partially reveals it, most of the scenes are made during the night in the city of Los Angeles. This provides some beautiful nighttime shots with Lou speeding around in his shabby car (which subsequently will be replaced by a flashy sports car) through the streets on his way to a variety of calamities he has overheard by using the scanner. He’s a “disaster tourist” equipped with a camera. The film is an indictment against the growing sensationalism in contemporary reporting. The look and shocking effect takes precedence over content and objectivity. You can compare it with the bread and circuses in the Roman Empire. Lou is the personification of this somewhat repulsive attitude. On the one hand he’s quite insane and frightening. On the other hand he’s a real goal getter who misuses the Achilles heel of the media world in a shrewd way to benefit from. One man’s loss in this case is Lou’s gain.

    That the masterful rendition by Gyllenhaal, as the extremely manipulative and creepy Lou, takes on the lion’s share of this exciting and simultaneously satirical film, is beyond dispute. But the supporting characters contributions are as important,convincing and certainly successful. First there is Riz Ahmed as the pitiful Rick, the assistant Lou has chosen in between, after a rather absurd interview. Rick is the prime example of someone who can use the money and who’s offered the job because he has a smart phone with GPS function. He’s overwhelmed by the silver-tongued Lou and him being a dogsbody after wards was also predictable. No wonder you instantly think he’s likable. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Rene Russo acting again as Nina Romina, the unyielding editor without a conscience. I haven’t seen her after “Lethal Weapon 3”. The fact Dan Gilroy is her husband, probably made sure that the selection criteria were flexible. Yet this wasn’t a bad interpretation and you witnessed the way Lou gradually took control over this seemingly fragile little personality.

    It was clear how it would end eventually. Although there was a choice between two possible denouements (two logical endings that arose to me spontaneously), the end was still intense and surprising. A disgusting example of self-centeredness and self-preservation. An example of which way our society is going and how people disregard ethics. The moral of the story is that there is a lack of morality in the media landscape and society today. Does this sound pretty cynical, nasty or downright morbid to you ? I’d suggest to take a look at yourself in an honest way and think whether or not you would slow down when passing a traffic accident in order to catch a glimpse of a victim? Or you’d return home quickly to zap to a news channel just because you have heard a disaster happened somewhere ? You come to the conclusion after wards that we are all a little bit like Lou. Disturbing ? Yep !

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  • Only four years before the release of this film, Jake Gyllenhaal was bronzed, maned and six-packed, and ended up watching Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), a blockbuster based on a popular video game (always a bad idea), crash and burn both at the hands of the critics and in terms of box office receipts. Hollywood’s attempt at sculpting this young actor we first saw as shifty and strange in Donnie Darko (2001) into something he was not, had failed miserably, and it seemed he was destined to fade and disappear. Four years later, it’s difficult to imagine Gyllenhaal as anything other than the great actor he has become.

    In Nightcrawler, he plays Lou Bloom. When we first meet him, he’s trying to steel metal to sell for scrap, attacking a security guard when he is caught and stealing his watch. He sells what he steals, trying to cement a business relationship with the manager of a construction site, pitching his long-term ideas in Googled sales-speak. The guy isn’t interested, maybe because he doesn’t want to get into business with a criminal, or maybe it’s because Lou is just so damn strange. He’s clearly highly intelligent, observant and extremely driven, but with his bug-eyed glare, greasy hair and gaunt exterior, mixed with an unnerving politeness, you wouldn’t want to be caught alone in a room with the creep.

    Driving home disappointed but not deterred, he comes across police sirens and a grisly auto-mobile accident. It’s not the blood and guts he’s interested in seeing, but the collections of ‘nightcrawlers’ who emerge out of the night, cameras swung onto their soldiers, filming anything they can of the grim wreckage. Ever curious, Lou questions one of them, Joe (Bill Paxton), who explains the in’s and out’s of what they do before darting off to sell what they have to the highest-bidding TV station. Purchasing a video camera, Lou gives it a try. He employs Rick (Riz Ahmed) to listen to police scanners and direct him to the pay-checks, and forms a professional relationship with ‘vampire shift’ news director Nina (Rene Russo), who gets first dibs on any footage Lou shoots throughout the night.

    First time director Dan Gilroy, Russo’s husband and writer of forgotten Emilio Estevez vehicle Freejack (1992) and the more recent The Bourne Legacy (2012), manages to keep the film a right mix of black comedy, neon-lit thriller, and biting satire. It’s also a film about L.A., a city that, in Lou’s eyes especially, only comes alive at night, where every corner could lead to another shocking story to spark fear into morning viewers, and bumping Lou up the corporate ladder in the process. Things are pushed to the extreme in Nightcrawler, but it’s alarming to realise that we are bombarded with graphic images in various media outlets every day, but for what reason? Is it part of a bigger picture aimed at controlling a terrified and increasingly paranoid audience, or is it simply because, deep down, we want to see them?

    As Lou’s thirst for recognition, respect and financial success becomes increasingly unquenchable, he begins to manipulate things for his own gain. From the opening scene where he may or may not have killed a man, we simply don’t know what he is capable of. He first moves a corpse so he can get a better angle when he arrives at a car crash before the police, and things spiral outward from there. Whether it’s Gyllenhaal’s stunning performance (Oscar hang your head in shame) or the idea of if we are to exist in an evil world, then why not excel in it, I wanted this slimy opportunist, who represents everything I hate, to succeed. It loses it’s grit and focus towards the end, but Nightcrawler is an accomplished debut, managing to be fun, repulsive and both beautiful and ugly to look at.

    Rating: 4/5

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