Director: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed, etc.
Lou Bloom is down on his luck, and desperate for work, having resorted to stealing manhole covers, and chain link fences for cash. One night on his way home, he notices an accident on the side of the road, and pulls over. Soon after, a news van also pulls over and begins frantically recording the carnage. Bloom learns from one of the recorders, that they are a part of those involved in underground crime journalism; that is, those who listen in on police scanners, beat the police to the crime scenes, and sell the footage to media outlets. He is immediately captivated by the idea, and sets out for a camera of his own. It also happens that this Lou Bloom is a complete and utter sociopath.
A biting satire of journalists and media, Nightcrawler bounces back and forth from the disturbing to the oddly hilarious. It’s a thriller that hits all the right notes, made even more creditable through Jake Gyllenhaal’s perfect performance. Gyllenhaal is noticeably thin, and sick-looking as Lou Bloom, with dark rings under his eyes, and a constant dead stare. His interactions with the people around him often exude strange humor, but his constant unpredictability creates an atmosphere of unease throughout the entire film. In being unpredictable, Bloom keeps the audience on edge as to what lengths he will go to securing his footage.
Gyllenhaal’s stunning performance, as well as the sharp writing, tense atmosphere, and gorgeous cinematography – the dark landscape of Los Angeles is a sight to behold here – all come together to make Nightcrawler a winner. It serves as a testament, not only to great film-making, but also to Gyllenhaal’s immense talent, for which he will no doubt be recognized when award season rolls around soon.