There is always something special about films that twist the status quo and create something both beautiful and horrifying. Nightcrawler presents the tale of Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a simple man looking for honest work. The film starts with Lou pouncing on every opportunity for a job, outlining his many beneficial characteristics. Lou would be an ideal candidate in my opinion. He is pleasant, friendly, and articulate. He means well and looks eager to work. Unfortunately, Lou gets rejected by all his prospects until one late night he witnesses a terrible car accident and the men responsible for capturing the live footage. That is when it clicks for him, and when our tale takes a terrible turn.
The American Dream
Lou decides to invest in camera equipment and becomes the first on the scene of some of L.A.’s most tragic events. Lou records car accidents, shootings, and fires. He starts to get the hang of things, and even hires an intern looking for quick cash. Lou sparks the interest of Nina Romina (Rene Russo), a businesswoman who runs a local news studio. She employs Lou for his shockingly graphic footage and encourages him to find more. Lou’s passion for his work and desire to succeed intensify quickly as Lou finds himself closer and closer to the danger that he films. What happens next…no one will be prepared for.
Nightcrawler caught me by surprise. Upon seeing the trailer, I knew I was going to get something intriguing, but the depths of this dark story is what I never anticipated. The film primarily takes place during the late night hours, which really sets the tone for the entire film. Lou finds himself alone, sneaking in the shadows of L.A.’s underworld surrounded by nothing but the night. This really adds to his character. You can just tell that there is something off about Lou. He means well, but there is this sense of normality that is missing. Throughout the film, Lou shares his knowledge with various people; knowledge that he has learned from the internet. This is a fascinating way to tell the story of chasing the American dream. An isolated man who is determined to learn can use the internet as a powerful asset for his gain. He uses this knowledge to his advantage when confronting others. Along with his articulate words, Lou has a piercing stare that is unremoved from his target. Like a bullet, it strikes you and keeps you entranced. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the character of Lou impeccably. He is spot on, and radiates on screen through his subtle movements and blood-curdling grin.
Up The Food Chain
I didn’t think I would be seeing a film as disturbing as Gone Girl the rest of the year, but Nightcrawler really gave it a run for its money. The growing sense of chaos is prevalent throughout the film. What begins as a need for money evolves into a desire for recognition. The seemingly harmless amateur journalist shows his true colors as he creates the news that is demanded of him. The lack of moral judgment seems to unphase Lou when the film starts to speed up. Lou’s conquest grows increasingly graphic and dangerous as he puts himself in harms way just to deliver the best product to Nina. I stared in horror as Lou manipulated Nina and revealed his depravity.
The Cost Of Entertainment
The movie brought up some interesting questions. How far would you go to achieve the American dream? In Lou’s case…too far. Director Dan Gilroy masterfully blurs the lines of morality and questions our motives. We all strive to succeed, but at what cost? At what point do we ask ourselves if we are harming those around us? Many of these questions ran through my mind as I watched Lou dive deeper down the rabbit hole. Lou encouraged those he worked with saying, “I wouldn’t ask you to do anything, that I wouldn’t do myself.” We quickly realize how this encouragement can turn on us. I find Lou’s creepy smile and over ambitious nature far scarier and more relatable than a simple criminal with bad intentions. It is this that really engrossed me. Anyone can become a criminal, and it doesn’t take much. Along with Lou’s lack of a moral compass are his news anchor comrades who encourage Lou to find the dirtiest footage he could nab. The film illuminates the media’s obsession with ratings and the lack of actual news that is broadcast. I think about the headlines happening now and how sad it is that America eats up all the filth streaming on our televisions. There is actual news happening in the world, but all we care about is that tragic car accident that happened on the highway. The news isn’t the news. It is just entertainment, just like this film. Its purpose is to excite and exhilarate the audience, not inform them. Nightcrawler exposes the nature of the industry and all those who participate, including the viewers that keep themselves glued to the screens.
Nightcrawler was absolutely grim, but delightful; arousing a wide grin. Jake Gyllenhaal’s moraless sociopath was stellar. The film had depth, intrigue, and even some dark humor. I hope this is a film that will be looked upon as a must-see some day. If you are interested in the film, watch the trailer below. And of course, always be sure to comment.