A driven young man (Gyllenhaal) stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism. When Lou Bloom, desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran.
ActorsStarring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, Kevin Rahm, Riz Ahmed, Kathleen York, Ann Cusack, Carolyn Gilroy, Michael Hyatt, Price Carson
Review by: Andy Hayler
Jake Gyllenhaal gives a remarkable performance as Louis Bloom, a small-time thief who discovers a talent for taking videos of LA crime scenes and accidents to sell to a local news station. As he learns his trade he takes on an employee, and we learn that Louis has been watching self-improvement courses on Youtube as he spouts management speak to the bewildered low-life that he hires as a driver.
Louis is ambitious and utterly without a moral core, which makes him a fine match for Nina, the head of news at a struggling LA TV station who avidly snaps up his increasingly graphic images. The best scenes are between Lousi and Rene Russo’s Nina. The balance of power in the relationship shifts as Nina becomes more and more dependent on Louis’ footage to keep tenuous hold of her job, and as Louis grows in confidence. The “if it bleeds it leads” mentality of the TV station is wittily presented, with some genuinely funny dialogue at times.
The film manages to keep us interested in Louis’ rise as he overcomes a local rival and as he makes awkward conversation with the staff at the TV station, who treat him with contempt even as he tries to impress them. At a broader level, the fairly obvious link between the media’s need for ever more graphic real-life drama to portray to its voracious viewers is neatly displayed without coming across as moral crusading. But the show belongs to Gyllenhaal, who keeps us fascinated with his essentially repugnant character as he plumbs the depths of morality.
Review by: Bart Hartgring
Close… but no cigar…
Nightcrawler is the story of Louis Bloom who by chance decides to work his way into filming accidents and crimes and selling the footage to the local news station.
I quite enjoyed the movie. The story is ‘interesting’ in an American Psycho kind of way, the atmosphere is dark and the cinematography is pretty good. But… Jake Gyllenhaal as the sociopathic Louis Bloom is just a bit off the mark in my opinion; he is not quite credible in his ‘nicer moments’ where he attempts to utilise the lingo he has learned from YouTube, and he is not truly menacing in his more evil episodes.
This then exposes that the script itself is just a bit too shallow – the way the story evolves and Louis’ ‘career’ progresses is all a bit too easy, and we don’t really get any depth in any the characters, especially Louis.
Louis Bloom could have been a great psychopathic character, but disappointingly the script and Gyllenhaal don’t manage to turn it into a Patrick Bateman or a Hannibal Lecter by any means.
So: close, but alas: no cigar. Still a fun watch though.