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Nightcrawler (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 20, 2020




Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Kevin Rahm, Michael Hyatt, Ann Cusack, Rick Chambers, Kent Shocknek and Sharon Tay.

Screenplay by Dan Gilroy.

Directed by Dan Gilroy.

Distributed by Open Road Films.  117 minutes.  Rated R.

Nightcrawler does not offer the typical movie experience. In fact, nothing about it screams normal. It offers a glimpse into several unknown worlds, doing so by providing insight into the life of one Louis (Lou) Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Nightcrawler, the directorial debut from Dan Gilroy, stars Gyllenhaal alongside Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and several other actors who make up a stellar cast.

Russo does a spectacular job as Nina Romina, Bloom’s advocate at the station and desperate producer always looking for a good story. This desperate behavior reflects the disheartening feel of the film – everyone is looking to get the best story and to get it first.

Lou Bloom is an LA based sociopath who doesn’t have a steady job. He has minimal interaction with others and has no moral boundaries when it comes to getting the best shot for the news. He starts the movie off by stealing copper wire and doing similar odd jobs, all the while trying to grasp at some semblance of a normal job.

During the opening sequence, after he sells copper wire to a man, he inquires about getting a job-or even an internship.  He feels “working my way up from the bottom could provide valuable experience for him.” Lou consistently spouts inspirational business quotes such as this one about getting to the top.

Despite his off-kilter demeanor, he strives to achieve… something. His only issue is that he doesn’t know what that is.

That changes when Lou discovers the world of TV news. He reports on accidents and… as he so eloquently states… “anything bloody.” Bloom enjoys the fast-paced career. He finds success due to his loner ways and seeming lack of borders. He gets up-close-and-personal on each incident, spiraling into a wave of blurred moral lines and flat-out crimes. Despite the film’s unconventional methods, the story keeps you hooked.

Despite a premise that is hard for most people to relate to and an antisocial main character, Nightcrawler is an impressive film. Gyllenhaal gives an outstanding performance. As Lou Bloom, he was believable and raw – a manic, possessive and ever-confident man, embracing his worst and most invasive qualities for the sake of success. Lou Bloom is not a likable character and in fact, most of the things that he does inspire horror and discomfort in audiences.

Ultimately, despite Bloom’s jaded ways and the death and violence that are so central to the job of nightcrawling, this is a dark variation of the classic success story of a nobody becoming somebody. In an odd way, you can’t help but root for him.

This is an interesting film that delves into the carnage-filled free-for-all that is nightcrawling, reflecting a bigger issue within society. We live in a world that can’t turn away from violence and horror. We are drawn to it again and again. This film shows the danger of living in such a society through it’s extreme circumstances.  The movie is creepy and uncomfortable, but most of all, it’s incredibly well done.

Ally Abramson

Copyright ©2014 All rights reserved. Posted: November 17, 2014. 

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