Nightcrawler – A film that achieves beauty through it’s dirty darkness
Written and directed by: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton
Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is living a meager life, but is a young man who is driven and determined to find his calling. One night he happens upon a crash scene and a man named Joe (Paxton) who is right in the action, filming every second of it. When he inquires who Joe works for, he learns that he is a freelance photo journalist who films scenes of crimes or tragedies and sells them to the news station that gives the highest bid. Immediately, Lou knows this is it. He buys a camera and a police scanner, and uses his ability to learn quickly to learn all the tricks of the trade. With his eager to please assistant Rick (Ahmed), he drives the LA streets all night looking for the next opportunity. But, his unquenchable thirst for advancement and climbing to the top lead to him doing some ethically questionable things.
Dan Gilroy wrote the screenplay for one of my all time favorite fantasy films in 2006’s “The Fall”, so I was more than a little excited to see what results he would yield when given the director’s chair. He certainly did not disappoint, and what he has created in “Nightcrawler” is one of the best all around films of 2014.
Where do I begin? How about the movie’s look? It is dirty, grimy, and bleak but through all of that it achieves a kind of warped beauty. You really get the feeling that you are looking at LA through the eyes of those who see it’s streets at 3a.m.. The effect is something that will make you feel like taking a shower immediately after the movie is over, and I mean that in a good way.
Gyllenhaal is every bit as brilliant as many critics have said he is. This performance reminded me of Christian Bale in “The Machinist” in that he completely transformed (physically and personality-wise) into this wiry, sociopathic character on screen. The last four films I have seen him in (“End of Watch” “Prisoners” “Enemy” and now “Nightcrawler”) have really cemented him for me as one of the better young actors out there.
Much of the credit to how amazing the film is though lies in the ability of it’s story teller. Gilroy does a flawless job at pulling you in, and keeping you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride. The pacing is spot on, and really the film feels much shorter than it’s 117 minute run time. That’s always a good sign though, right?
I would recommend “Nightcrawler” to anyone who likes… well good films. Good films with great acting and a great story. See it as soon as you can.