Director: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton
Plot: A jobless man finds his calling when he stumbles into the world of crime journalism and becomes a nightcrawler aka someone who records the aftermath of crime and accidents and sells them to TV stations.
Review: It's hard for me to describe Nightcrawler in a sentence, but if I had to, it would be something like a huge car pile-up where you stop and gawk at instead of moving on. It's a horrible thing, but you can't help looking at it.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a jobless man who, at the start of the film, is seen stealing copper wires to sell for cash. Then he sees a man recording the aftermath of a car crash and learns that footage like this is worth money to TV stations for their breaking news segments. So Lou jumps on the bandwagon and starts doing the same thing, learning the tricks of the trade and getting more and more daring as time goes by. The question is, is there a line he won't cross?
Writer-director Dan Gilroy does a great job showing us the news world of Los Angeles, and how anyone with enough guts like Lou Bloom and company, can make a living off of other people's misfortunes. He also shows how a TV station's ratings are so crucial as it hangs on whatever graphic footage the nightcrawlers bring in to them.
Speaking of the nightcrawlers, Gilroy did research on actual nightcrawlers to get the feel of news hounds armed with cameras going around looking for dirt, and as a result, the world of LA at night is vividly presented, and Lou's movements as well as his competition are well documented. Gilroy's film excels the most when Lou is on the move with his suffering assistant Rick, and even in the slower moments, the film never stalls too long.
Other than Gilroy, the driving force in the film is certainly Gyllenhaal. He's in 99% of the film and quite literally makes the film his own. His character is an intelligent man who is skilled in getting his point across, constantly speaking as if he's in a job interview or a performance review, from either side of the desk. More importantly, Gyllenhaal plays him as a persistent man who would stoop to any level to get what he wants. As a result, Lou is a pretty deplorable guy, and Gyllenhaal is simply fantastic in the role. Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed also put in solid performances (as the TV station news director, a fellow nightcrawler and Lou's assistant respectively) but this is Gyllenhaal's show through and through. He even lost weight for the role and looks rather creepy on screen.
The only thing that bothered me was the way the film ended. I didn't quite like it, especially after seeing what came before it. I do understand how some films can't end the way we want it to, but this ending just kinda ruined it a bit for me.
But don't get me wrong, this is a great film and one that Gyllenhaal can be really proud of. Recommended. (8/10)