Movie Reviews

Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Sasha Glenn



The concept of the American dream is generally thought of as ascending to great heights of success. For some, that means creating something out of nothing. They can do this either through lots of hard work, or by having a stroke of good luck.

“Nightcrawler” centers around Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young man who is attempting to do just that – create something out of nothing and ascend to great heights of success.

Truly a schmuck by every definition of the word, Louis is a contemptible character. He lies, steals, and bends every rule in pursuit of the almighty dollar. This makes for a character that people will love to hate.

Louis discovers a grand opportunity to make money by essentially playing paparazzi to the world of crime. A skill in high demand in a news industry which sensationalizes violence and crime in order to gain ratings.

The film portrays the workings of the news media as somewhat twisted. The industry plays off of the naivety of the American public.

This theme builds throughout the movie, becoming more and more apparent. It hints at an uncertainty of the ethics of crime news coverage. This message is perhaps intended to extend beyond the silver screen and into the real world.

A thriller with depth, “Nightcrawler” is one hell of a debut for director Dan Gilroy. In addition to the unique and complex plot line, the cast is expertly selected.

Each character achieves a raw realness that turns the audience into witnesses rather than movie goers.

Gyllenhaal, who lost 20 pounds for the role, has mastered the art of portraying madness. His eyes communicate a certain detached sadness, yet at the same time he appears egotistical. His expression exudes an inner dialogue which is fleeting and somewhat absent from reality. He is the main character in the movie, as well as in his own mind.

The evolution which his character, Louis, exhibits is electrifying. He is a man in constant motion – doing whatever it takes to succeed, and sinking deeper into the dark side of a news media that lives off of ratings.

The film starts to resemble a gory train wreck which one cannot resist but to stare at as it follows Louis. In order to get the perfect shot, he pushes the line of morality further and further. His morally questionable character begins to blur into the realm of psychotic.

Human lives begin to be something of a commodity when on the other side of a lens. Nina (Rene Russo), a news director desperate to stay in demand is determined to stay focused on theme of urban crime creeping into suburban neighborhoods. She knows this is what grabs attention, and despite reality, she intends to deliver a particular story to viewers.

Russo’s tired eyes add to the realness of the dramatic story. She is just one of the characters which may confuse the audience in regards to who is “good” and who is “bad.” The interplay between characters who cannot be defined as good or bad creates a massively entertaining drama.

The deeper message of the film is left up for interpretation. Perhaps many people are just “not so good,” then there’s Louis who most people won’t be able to help but loath.

A true statement piece, “Nightcrawler” delivers a nauseating cinematic rush.

I give “Nightcrawler” 5 out of 5 stars.


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