★ ★ ★ ★ out of 5
Directed by Dan Gilroy
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom
Lou Bloom is an incredibly persistent thief, looking for a serious job, who comes across the Nightcrawling business, which is filming crime scenes and accidents and selling them to news stations.
Well, first thing’s first, I have to say congratulations on really stepping your game up Jake Gyllenhaal. He was great in Prisoners, but my oh my, he stepped it up to another level in Nightcrawler. That was one of the most terrifying performances I’ve seen in a while. He really is terrifying in a deeply unsettling, creepy way. Gyllenhaal seems almost hungry in every scene, he is the very definition of a creep. I could really see him getting a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this one. There’s four spots locked up, but the fifth one could easily be stolen away by Gyllenhaal. Anyways, on to the actual film around the stunning performance, which I was a little let down by to be completely honest. Nightcrawler had flown under my radar till after it’s premiere at TIFF, where I had the choice to buy tickets to it, but instead saw the mathematics drama, X+Y (which was mediocre at best), but after I started hearing the buzz around this one, I knew I had to see it. So it’s become one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and was it really worth the hype? In many ways yes, but many others, no. Like I’ve already said, Jake Gyllenhaal deserves every bit of praise he’s getting, and it was worth the price of admission for that. But, I didn’t find Nightcrawler to be all that exciting, or interesting. The script, which has some amazing dialogue and character work, really was lacking storywise. They didn’t have much of a story to tell, it feels almost like Dan Gilroy knew that he wanted to tell a story about a sociopath who films crime scenes, and had all the characters planned, but couldn’t actually think up any conflict to go with it. So what we get is just an observation of the life and work of Lou Bloom. The finale has a bit of conflict, and I think that there could have been an entire movie based on the repercussions of the final sequence, but that bit of conflict disappears very quickly and the movie is done. You can pack in a ton of car chases and intense scenes, but without an overlying conflict, they don’t mean much. Again, I think the script was great otherwise. I didn’t expect such a great satire on the hunger for carnage of the news industry and the news-watching public in general. The next thing I was disappointed by was the music, which I was pumped for after hearing the trailer’s intense instrumentals that I assumed were part of the score. But instead of that music, the movie had a strangely happy, lighthearted, cheesy kind of score. Rarely does music actually take me out of the film, but it really did with Nightcrawler. The camerawork was fantastic though. No one knows how to photograph Los Angeles like Robert Elswit. He is damn good at what he does. I definitely recommend giving Nightcrawler a watch, even if it wasn’t “fucking amazeballs” as the reviews described. I’ll leave it the way I started it though. Jake Gyllenhaal should really get an Oscar nomination for this one.