In Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal turns the creep factor up to 11. Easily the creepiest movie I’ve seen all year, including horror movies, you will leave Nightcrawler a little more disgusted with humanity. Don’t get me wrong Nightcrawler is not a scary movie by any means. It is however one of the most intense, well performed, creepy performances I’ve seen by an actor since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Nightcrawler is a story about down on his luck Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal, Enemy) looking for a job. But don’t feel to bad for the guy, he is crazy! Bloom is a quick talking, highly intelligent and goal oriented man. Did I mention that he’s probably a psychopath a la Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale, American Psyco)?
Psychopath: “A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.” Yup, that’s him.
While job hunting and being generally creepy Bloom pulls over and looks with great curiosity at a one-car crash on the highway. He is the ultimate rubbernecker. While starring curiously at the broken body of a women being pulled out of a car a van pulls up. Enter the “Nightcrawlers” freelance videographers who chase accidents and violent crimes to get footage and sell it to the highest bidder. This gives our friendly neighborhood psychopath a plan: (1) Steal a bike and pawn it (2) Get a camera and police scanner (3) Hire an intern (4) start filming. He starts off slow but Bloom is a quick learner and realizes he needs to step up his game. For a man with no conscience that is anything but good.
Nightcrawler is a film about the lengths men and women will go to get that story that no one else can. It is in many ways a critique about the ludicrous lengths people will go for ratings, exclusivity and success. Great acting from Gyllenhaal, Paxton (Edge of Tomorrow) and Russo (Ransom draw us into to the unsettling world of local news where “If it bleeds, it leads.” If you’re not a fan of local news, this movie will not help that and may solidify your viewpoint. As somewhat of an amateur videographer myself, I saw myself in Bloom’s character as he stood on the sidelines lifting his camera to get “that perfect angle.” I don’t say that with pride. Though, that is a credit to fantastic acting by Gyllenhaal who walks the line between hilarious and deeply unsettling.
Though incredibly well acted and engaging, Nighcrawler is not for everyone. It’s dark tone and Gyllenhaal’s unnerving performances may be to much for some. Though rarely will you see on screen violence there are several graphic bloody images throughout the film. For a full content breakdown, including language warnings, please check the links below.
A debut film for director Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler is a beautifully shot movie full of great dialogue, engrossing characters and nail biting suspense. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I can’t help but wish I didn’t have this behind the scenes view into how local news works. If i wasn’t skeptical before, I am now. I guess that in itself is a major credit to the believability of this film. Nightcrawler had me incredibly entertained from first frame to last. If you can handle dark macabre character driven thrillers I highly recommend it. But leave your kids at home…
What did you think of Nighcrawler? What’s your opinion of the local news? Let us know in the comments below.