Directed by Dan Gilroy
‘Nightcrawler’ is my film of the year. I love it, so this review will effectively be me drooling over a movie. Feel free to close your browser window and stop reading right about now….
I’ve been raving about ‘Nightcrawler’ to all my buddies and I’ve described it as today’s ‘Taxi Driver’, though my fellow critics have actually used another iconic De Niro performance to describe Gyllenhaal’s turn as Louis Bloom, drawing comparisons to ‘The King of Comedy’. The strength of the film is that Bloom is a product of our times, fuelled by the ability to retain information. He’s a child of the internet, stuck with a sense of entitlement. This drive for success cultivated in an isolated environment prevents Bloom from developing any kind of empathy for fellow human beings.
‘Nightcrawler’ is all about a loner and small time thief who by chance is introduced to the world of accident chasers and crime scene recorders, the kind of people who capture grisly and gory incidents and sell the footage on to twenty four hour news channels. Bloom, a wide-eyed, obsessive man with an eye on fine details, quickly learns what he needs to do in order to be a success. His daring, somewhat naïve, approach to capturing footage gains the attention of Nina (Rene Russo).
Gyllenhaal is superb, and brings a relentless intensity to the film; he is anchored by playing off two vintage supporting performances in the shape of veteran talents Bill Paxton and Rene Russo. Riz Ahmed is also great as Bloom’s intern Rick. One of the stand out scenes from the movie is when the pair meets for the first time. Bloom holds an impromptu job interview, which is one of the most awkward job interviews captured on the cinema screen arguably since the one featuring Spud in ‘Trainspotting’.
‘Nightcrawler’ captures the tabloid nature of twenty four hour news channels. Shock, scandal and hysteria replace honest reporting and good journalism. Nina describes their ideal top news story as having the impact of “a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut”. According to Nina, the viewers want to see that. The bloodier the better, and Lou Bloom is drawn to the bloody.
Mostly shot at night in and around LA the vibe of the films cinematography reminded me of ‘Collateral’. There’s something about LA at night which is heartbreakingly beautiful when captured on the big screen.
The cleverness of Dan Gilroy’s direction is what we don’t see. We don’t know all that much about Lou Bloom’s backstory. The relationship between Nina and Lou Bloom, which goes from mutually beneficial, to lopsided, in that it is implied that Bloom blackmails Nina into having a sexual relationship, but this is not seen on camera.
‘Nightcrawler’ is a helluva movie. The best of 2014.