By Peter Towe

Published on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Observe any modern city from a distance, the bright lights glistening in the darkness, empty roads, most people tucked away safely in their homes, it all seems so peaceful.  If you watch any type of network news however, those seemingly peaceful cities become terrifying.  The people who run these networks come across some of the most horrific things imaginable and collectively decide, what is and isn’t news.  It’s biased of course, regardless, people seemingly eat it up.  Are we drawn to horrific events, or have we collectively accepted what is thrown at us?


Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom, an extremely resourceful young man living in downtown Los Angeles.  While not formally educated, Bloom has an incredible talent of retaining information he learns from the internet.  With nothing more than his enterprising spirit, Louis sets out to become a self-made man, and network television is where his talents can be best put to use.  So while most people are sleeping, Louis waits by his police radio, listening for “the call”.  Network news will buy content from outside companies, if the video is “news worthy”, meaning accidents, violence, or anything graphic occurring in affluent sections of town.  So, Bloom navigates through this dark underbelly, and attempts to work his way to top management.

Nightcrawler achieved what modern horror films gimmicky throw at you throughout their poorly written and predictable storytelling.  With Nightcrawler you get actual fear, terror, and an overall uneasiness throughout that makes the film an immensely effective thriller.  This is successfully achieved throughput a tightly acted, written, and directed satire of modern society.  You know the old cliché “if it bleeds it leads”? I’m sure you do, but have you ever thought of the people responsible for the graphic content plastered all over network news?  It takes a certain lack of humility or care for humanity, to remove yourself from the situation when you pull up to the scene of an accident, and instead of helping, pull out your camera to get the right shot that will net you the money your seeking.


Writer Dan Gilroy, whose credits include Two For the Money, Real Steel, and The Bourne Legacy, steps into the directors chair for the first time and the results speak for themselves.  With an estimated budget of $4.5 million, he has crafted a beautiful film, that besides 2010’s Drive, features energetic driving sequences which are intensified through the lens.  Hopefully this helps show Hollywood that the low-to-mid budget movie is equally if not more beneficial to their system.  With the recently announced upcoming superhero schedule, the big-budget action extravaganzas are not going anywhere.  It is however refreshing to see someone take a sub$5 million movie, and pack more intensity and suspense than your typical $50-100 million movie, and while Gilroy should get the credit he deserves, Jake Gyllenhaal gave the performance of a lifetime.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Louis Bloom is absolutely haunting and for lack of a better phrase, makes your skin crawl.  Not since Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman have I seen such a funny yet horrifying portrayal into the mind of a true sociopath.  And this is not to say that Louis Bloom is a serial killer like Bateman, they just give off the same vibes, and switch from smiling lunatic too intense lunatic at the drop of a hat.  Gyllenhaal’s eyes alone are enough to make you uncomfortable in your seat, and things only escalate.


Unfortunately Hollywood studios wait until this time-of-year to release all their films that are actually worthy of admiration.  So with Gone Girl, Birdman, and now Nightcrawler, you have three movies this month that are MUST-WATCHES.  Nightcrawler is the most haunting and unusual film I’ve seen in quite some time, and that includes the technical and performance achievements in Birdman.  Nightcrawler as far as I’m concerned, features the best performance by any actor this year.  With a healthy slate of “Oscar hopefuls” being released now, only time will tell.  Nightcrawler is an absolute must-see however, and Gyllenhaal’s performance stands on it’s own.  It’s an incredible thrill-ride, that will leave you laughing, tense, thoroughly unsettled, and pondering whether you know a Louis Bloom, or even, do the Louis Bloom’s run the world which we inhabit?

Nightcrawler is rated R and has a runtime of 117 minutes.  The film opens nationwide October 31st.

The Good

+ Satirizes modern times in a funny and deeply disturbing way

+ Jake Gyllenhaal gives a creepily amazing performance

+ Action/driving sequences are exhilarating

+ Tense and unsettling throughout


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