Big Screen :: Nightcrawler

December 2nd 2014


Jake Gyllenhaal gives such a good performance in Nightcawler, he single-handedly turns what was a good movie into a kind-of great one. He looks skinny, greasy and under-slept the whole movie, and his eyes are buried so deep in his head and open so wide that they look like special effects.

His character, Lou Bloom, is one for the ages: an ambitious go-getter, prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed.

In a way, he embodies everything people are told they should be. In another, more important way, he is a complete sociopath.

This guy is amoral, unreasonable, cruel and lacking any recognisable human emotion, and the movie seems to argue that this is a necessary trait for success. He’s clearly going to go far.

Bloom decides to funnel his enormous ambition into the dubious pursuit of videotaping gruesome crime scenes and accidents just after they happen and selling the videos to LA morning news shows. Blood and guts, raw grief, and urban ethnic crime perpetrated on white suburban victims is their bread and butter. Bloom’s complete lack of scruples makes him perfectly suited to the job.


Bloom is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with capitalism. He will happily violate, alter and maybe even instigate a crime scene in order to get the best pictures.

He doesn’t blink an eye or stop to question his actions, even a second. All’s fair when you’re trying to get ahead.

I was watching this thinking that it would make a great double feature with Gone Girl. Both are movies about the media, about sociopaths, and about entitlement. People who have been convinced that they are owed the world and will bulldoze a path to get it, not thinking about the people in their way. And both are kind of hilarious, once you get past the darkness.

It’s totally Gyllenhaal’s film, though. He dominates it. I really did not know he had this in him, and it was exciting to see.

Nightcrawler is also a great LA movie, and the beautiful night cinematography reminded me a lot of Collateral.

Dan Gilroy started as a writer – this is his debut in the director’s chair – and it’s a hell of a start. I can’t wait to see what he does next.


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