Nightcrawler – Review
Nightcrawler Movie Review
Jake Gyllenhaal is renowned for playing dark and mysterious characters; Donnie Darko, Inspector Loki and Adam + Anthony. But one can say without the slightest bit of apprehension, that Louis Bloom is undoubtedly his best role to date. He’s a troubled man, who’s soaring ambitions know no moral bound. It’s Gyllenhall’s best performance to date and Louis Bloom could easily be one of the best psychopath’s to don the big screen. Nightcrawler is nothing but pure genius, it’s clever when it needs to be, gripping in all the right places and has a stupendous screenplay which gives characters rich development. From its acting to direction, everything is immaculate and crisp clean, its visually stunning as it explores the seedy aspect of LA – one that is barely displayed in the clichéd sunny state. Furthermore, it’s a harsh and brutal awakening into the gritty aspect of the media – “if it bleeds it leads”. I have no reservations in saying Nightcrawler is the best film I’ve seen all year and I doubt any film due for release could top it. It’s being hailed as a modern masterpiece and deservedly so.
Louis Bloom is nothing. He lives a mundane life and his monotonous life isn’t giving him any pleasure. In a desperate attempt to break the cyclical nature of his life, he becomes a freelance ‘nightcrawler’ – a person who films footage of an accident, killing etc. He relishes in his new job and is “eager to learn”. The film then explores how this eagerness and over-enthusiasm for his job transcends into anarchy, as he starts committing crimes just to be the best at his job. It’s incredibly simplistic and isn’t bloated with nonsensical tangent like side-plots. Therefore, it’s essentially a deep character study of a man who is both the protagonist and antagonist.
Jake Gyllenhaal triumphs in this film, if he doesn’t receive an Oscar nomination for this film then there is something seriously wrong with the film industry. He relishes in this role and excels. Never have I seen an actor play a psychopath so convincingly, from the very onset I didn’t see an actor I just saw Louis Bloom. From his haunting eyes, to his chilling body language, Louis Bloom is sadistically scary. Riz Ahmed does a fantastic job as his “apprentice” and this climax of the film involving this character leaves you gasping in disbelief. He is also a very compelling watch, as is Renee Russo who plays the news director who needs Louis’ handiwork to keep her job. Everyone in this film adds to the enjoyment of it, unlike Gone Girl where some characters brought the film down. Nightcrawler is a textbook character driven movie, as it hones in on three individuals and fixates upon what makes them tick and why. The way this all unravels is fascinating, scary and intriguing.
Nightcrawler is masterfully paced, it speeds up when it needs to and slows down in all the right places. For example, [Spoliers] a scene takes places between Louis and the news director which is incredibly captivating and it retains that tension for the full five minutes – something other films cannot do well. The chases and the need to get to the crime scene first, pump the film with adrenaline and the viewer feels like he/she is involved – because we also get to the crime scene first. I think classing this film as a standalone thriller is misleading, whilst it has thrills its not constant and for this film that’s a good thing. I’d prefer labelling this film as nothing but a drama.
Never has LA looked so seedy and desolate on camera. The film fixates on suburban crime and the way the news “cash in” on deaths – “if it bleads it leads”. Its dark and disturbing, but the film itself is subtle in some respects. There isn’t gratuitous violence and nothing shown is ever ‘unnecessary’. It hold the reigns in and gives the right amount of ‘shock factor’, anything more or less would have spoilt it for me. That sums up Nightcrawler, it achieves that fine balance that so many films get wrong. It has got a balanced runtime, perfect pace and a rounded cast that all perform well. Getting all these things right is tricky, but Dan Gilroy hits the nail on the head in this fascinating crime drama. In my opinion, nothing in Nightcrawler can be critiqued – this isn’t to say it’s flawless, but it’s damn close.
Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal are the two best things I’ve seen all year in film. It’s an entertaining and thought provoking watch that has a near perfect script. It’s dark and disturbing, but then again so is the world. Nightcrawler epitomises the seedy nature of the media and the exploitation of crime, it does so wonderfully. It’s a real film, there is no façade here or a barricade of artificial CGI. Nightcrawler is filmaking, storytelling and acting at its very best.