January 6, 2015


Dan Gilroy, 2014
Night owl Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) struggles to find any form of employment until he is excited to discover an underworld group who films newsworthy events and sells the footage to the local television outlets.

Nightcrawler is a menacing nocturnal thriller, with Jake Gyllenhaal channeling a manic energy thats sort of a blend of Travis Bickle and Patrick Bateman with the inappropriate persistence of a TMZ reporter with his Louis Bloom character. But to be fair, Gyllenhaal makes Louis his own and really gives him his own place in the world of deranged movie characters. From the get go, Louis is a difficult character to get behind. He scrapes by, stealing scrap copper and trying to flip it in yards under strict and personally disciplined negotiation. His social cues are a bit unpolished to say the least. Bags under his eyes, with almost an Uncle Fester like purpleness to them. He's a man still trying to find his place in the world. And his world isn't in the daytime. His world is the night-fallen Los Angeles, when all of the shady people come out to play. When he encounters a scene of an accident and sees that there is actually a job where people capture those critical moments for a quick buck, he's hooked on the spot. This form of employment suits Louis quite well, because he is undoubtedly a sociopath. He doesn't hesitate to get right in there with a camera, regardless of the pain or the seriousness of the situation. He is numb to the levity of the situation. His cold shell gets peeled away layer by layer over the course of the film, giving you the impression that you will eventually be exposed to some kind of warmth by Louis. But no, the layers only expose more apathy. Louis is callous, calculating, self serving. He looks upon these crime scenes with open eyes, and nothing behind those chilled eyes feels concerned or empathetic. Perhaps that's one of the most conflicting parts of the story. Sort of difficult to become genuinely concerned about a character like Louis. But much like Taxi Driver, the story isn't really about you getting behind Louis. You sit back and watch in awe. Nightcrawler somehow finds a new way to look at Los Angeles. Gyllenhaal delivers possibly the best performance of his career. He's really showing that he's working on himself as actor, trying to evolve. He's come a long way from Bubble Boy. Nightcrawler is a meditation on our culture of rubber-necking and giving priority to the horrific train-wreck-like events on our TV screens . But it also explores morality through the eyes of a maniac.

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