Nightcrawler is a film directed by Dan Gilroy and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and it is one of the most affective movies of the year, right on par with Gone Girl. This is also a case where the lead actor really does ‘star’. Jake Gyllenhaal is incredible in his role as Lou Bloom, combining charm, wit, intelligence, malevolence and animal instincts with aplomb.
The plot follows Lou Bloom, a thief turned ‘stringer’, a person who chases crimes and accidents to get exclusive footage to sell to news stations. Bloom, as he often says, is a very quick learner and he soon becomes successful, dragging his employee Rick deeper and deeper into his dark world. The line between civilian and criminal quickly blurs. Lou Bloom is perhaps the scariest character to ever be seen on screen. Forget about horror movies, this man is so unsettling it is impossible to assume a comfortable position in your seat. His words and actions have you constantly trying to fathom if he is truly psychotic and if so, to what extent. It becomes more evident as the film goes on that he is ruthless and dangerous in an eerie way, similar to Ryan Goslings character in Drive. They also share the mystery of their characters. You can’t help but wonder about Blooms past, although there are hints. However Bloom couldn’t be further from Driver in most other aspects. He talks a lot, in over the top sophisticated, almost robotic language. He is always calm and controlled. This adds to the sense of anxiousness the audience feels when he is on screen. The only time he loses his cool is when we are least afraid of him, because at this point he seems more human.
The whole movie is like watching a dissection, fascination and disgust are felt simultaneously, both from observing Bloom and from the content, uncovering the grimy underbelly of TV news. One of the greatest aspects of this film is the tension built throughout. Every scene is rippling with it, as well as the film as a whole. One cannot guess what Bloom is going to do next and with that comes the fear that something horrible could happen at any moment. And yet there are moments you can’t help but laugh. He is funny, with his self assuredness during business interactions. Most of all he is disturbing, a superbly crafted character which Gyllenhaal gives complete justice to.
This movie is beautifully filmed, glitzing up Los Angeles like Drive but also taking us right into the city, the dirt and the chaos. The score is perfect, blending so seamlessly into the movie you don’t even realise it’s half the reason you are feeling what you are feeling. The action scenes are also engrossing. There is a lot of driving and car chases in this film and all of them are exciting and nerve wracking as Bloom sits with laser focus at the wheel.
To sum up, this film exposes the moral abhorrence at the centre of this type of news gathering but is ultimately dominated by the central character of Lou Bloom and Jake Gyllenhaals performance. He will have you believing he is real and that if you ever meet him, it would hopefully be in a nightmare only.
Recommendation: See it without delay
*I Miss You- Blink-182