Louis Bloom, a man of dubious morals, is inspired one night to find work as a “nightcrawler”, filming accidents and crimes to sell footage to local news stations. But lines blur as Bloom learns how far he is willing to go to get the best story.
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed
Writer/Director: Dan Gilroy
A bleak and sometimes darkly comic film about a sociopath who finds his true calling, Nightcrawler sees Jake Gyllenhaal lose his boyish charm and a ton of weight to play one of the best performances of his career so far.
LA becomes a dark and violent place where it’s almost always night time. The film feels quite bleak and cynical, exploring the least glamorous sides of life in a city of glitter. Characters in TV news spout phrases like “if it bleeds it leads” and there are very few characters with any sense of moral value. Initially, Louis Bloom, spouting his wide eyed business speak seems immoral but naive, until his ability to negotiate, his grasp of the TV news industry and the use of black mail becomes apparent. He’s slimy and uses the people around him mercilessly. As he becomes more immersed in his job, capturing the best footage for the highest rate becomes paramount, and he’s more than happy to break the law and contaminate a crime scene to get what he wants.
The film has a lot to say about the nature of the TV news business, and the way in which it manipulates it’s audience, as well as the audience desire to see the worst, whether that a manufactured crime wave or images of accident or crime scenes. In a sense, the unseen news viewer is Louis Bloom, or at least, he is a product of his society. But I think from another perspective, it’s an incredibly insightful look into the character of the sociopath.
See it if: You like Jake Gyllenhaal, “Oscar bait” movies, or if you like your movies dark and cynical. Not a great first date movie!