Jake Gyllenhaal makes the film in an epic performance.
Lou Bloom is a delusional sociopath who speaks in “business self-help book” speak with such passion and conviction that he forces this delusion into reality and takes everyone he encounters with him and traps them in his ever-expanding web. He is a liar; some would say a killer, but also a self-made man of the highest order who would fit in with Christian Bale in “American Psycho”, but also Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver”. Lou will either end up in jail, dead or President, but here he is simply the hero, played with terrifying skill by Jake Gyllenhaal, in the critically lauded and Oscar nominated film, “Nightcrawler” from 2014.
Lou starts the film simply as a scrap metal thief, but quickly inspired by witnessing a freelance cameraman, played by Bill Paxton, he begins to try his hand at the job himself. Able to separate himself from the competition by his lack of morals and his abundance of ambition, Lou quickly becomes one of the best in the business. He latches on to the best routes and the best use of his camera amongst other things. He also finds the two best ways to get ahead in any business: first grab the coattails of someone who has already made it; he does so in the form of a desperate for ratings news director of a local TV station, Nina Romina (Rene Russo); second, find a subordinate to abuse to make you look better. Lou finds this when he hires an assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed), a young man desperate for money, and begins his career as a stringer. His manipulations and exploitations of these two characters make up the bulk of the film and his depravity knows no boundaries.
Writer/Director Dan Gilroy crafts a twisted tale and some staggeringly funny dialogue. The film dives into almost a parody in the realm of a film like “Network” when he deals with the TV stations. Just like that classic film, funny is often at the expense of comfort and that can make for some captivating viewing.
Jake Gyllenhaal is downright brilliant and terrifying as Lou. I see why he is a perfect choice for the Joker in the upcoming “Suicide Squad” film. He is able to convey a startling amount of madness with his eyes. His level of crazy is contained and constrained and when he does have outbursts, they are short and wild.
Gyllenhaal is great, the script is tight, and while some may find the last half hour of the film a bit over the top, I found it riveting.
“Nightcrawler” did not set the box office on fire, but deserves a lot of attention, even after some time has passed. This is one of those movies that you promise yourself you will get around to, but never do, that is what happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you. It is currently out their streaming to you through ITunes, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The Photo above is a screenshot.