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Nightcrawler (2014)
  • Director:
    Dan Gilroy
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Dan Gilroy
  • Cast:
    Jake Gyllenhaal,Rene Russo,Bill Paxton
  • Time:
    1h 57min
  • Budget:
  • Year:
NIGHTCRAWLER is a thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling - where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Gyllenhaal Jake Gyllenhaal - Louis Bloom
Michael Papajohn Michael Papajohn - Security Guard
Marco Rodríguez Marco Rodríguez - Scrapyard Owner (as Marco Rodriguez)
Bill Paxton Bill Paxton - Joe Loder
James Huang James Huang - Marcus Mayhem Video
Kent Shocknek Kent Shocknek - Kent Shocknek
Pat Harvey Pat Harvey - Pat Harvey
Sharon Tay Sharon Tay - Sharon Tay
Rick Garcia Rick Garcia - Rick Garcia
Leah Fredkin Leah Fredkin - Female Anchor
Bill Seward Bill Seward - Bill Seward
Rick Chambers Rick Chambers - KWLA Anchor Ben Waterman
Holly Hannula Holly Hannula - KWLA Anchor Lisa Mays
Jonny Coyne Jonny Coyne - Pawn Shop Owner
Nick Chacon Nick Chacon - Cop #1

Nightcrawler (2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds for his role. This was Gyllenhaal's own idea, as he visualized Lou as a hungry coyote.

During the scene where Jake Gyllenhaal screams at himself in the mirror, Gyllenhaal got so into this improvised scene that the mirror broke, cutting his hand. He was driven to the hospital by the director after a nineteen hour day of working and got forty-six stitches in an four hour long operation, returning to the set six hours after being discharged. This was the reason why Gyllenhaal had his hand behind his back in the scene where he tells the scrapyard owner his motto.

Jake Gyllenhaal's character blinks very rarely. Gyllenhaal has used this method in his work before with his role as title character Donnie Darko (2001) as well as Prisoners.

Jake Gyllenhaal memorized the entire movie like a play.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed rode along with actual "nightcrawlers" in Los Angeles to prepare for their roles.

To create Lou's gaunt appearance, Jake Gyllenhaal worked out for up to 8 hours a day and ran or cycled to the set everyday.

The filmmakers made a point of not having Lou Bloom undergo a "character arc" because they felt he would have become a certain type of person and stayed that way as an adult. That was also why the initial scene has Lou assaulting and robbing a security guard; it was important that the audience not feel Lou became a worse person because of his work as a nightcrawler, but instead recognized he was malevolent from the start.

Director Dan Gilroy on the impetus for the film: "I think to some degree it's certainly an indictment of local television news, but I'd like to cast a wider net in the sense that all of us really watch these images. I would hope that maybe a viewer would take it further and maybe go, 'Why do I watch these images and how many of these images do I want to put into my own spirit?'"

The coyote theme became so strong that it was considered as an alternate title.

The music cues in the movie represent the music cues in Lou's head.

Directorial debut of Dan Gilroy.

Jake Gyllenhaal appears in every scene of the film.

Rene Russo is married to the film's director, Dan Gilroy.

The Raishbrook Brothers (the actual "stringers" Gyllenhaal and Ahmed trained with in preparation for the film) make a small cameo when Louis arrives to the structure fire too late near the beginning of the film. They are the two last ones to leave the scene. They would later go on to make and feature in the Netflix series Shot in the Dark (2017).

Based partially on the career of Arthur "Weegee" Fellig, the first photojournalist who was well-known for reaching crime scenes quickly by tuning into police radio broadcasts.

Dan Gilroy considered a backstory that would help explain how Lou Bloom became the amoral and damaged "survivor" he was in the film. However, he ultimately cut the entire idea from his script because he didn't want to either spend a lot of time on Lou's origin or make him very sympathetic.

When Rick meets with Lou for his job interview, they sit in a diner. The diner they are meeting in was also used in the film Drive (2011) where the protagonist's love interest also works at the diner.

Despite receiving nominations for Best Actor at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAG, Critics Choice awards, Independent Spirit Awards and even the Saturn Awards, Jake Gyllenhaal failed to receive an Academy Award nomination. Critics, audiences, major film groups and publications considered this a major snub at the time.

After the scene in which Lou shows the newsroom his Horror House footage, the broadcast director cuts to break on a Bird's Eye food commercial featuring wolves. The movie follows this theme of predatory animals in its depiction of Lou, and the commercial ends with the slogan "Dinner is Complete," as the Horror House story is Lou's big break into the world of stringer journalism.

The film's climax was filmed on Laurel Canyon Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, only several blocks away from the location of the infamous shootout in 1997 between two heavily armed bank robbers and L.A. police, in which both robbers were killed.

The movie Jake Gyllenhaal is watching on his TV, when the knight's helmet is lobbed off, is Le bouffon du roi (1955) featuring Danny Kaye.

The billboard for eyeglasses that Lou passes is reminiscent of the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby; both stories address the idea of the American Dream and its flaws.

When Lou and Rick are in the car listening to the police scanner for the first time, dispatch requests a code 3 (lights and sirens) at "Sixth and rampart". Rick suggests they respond to that and Lou laughs back "We want victims... Not the kind that live on Sixth and Rampart". This is a reference to the 1976 black comedy film Car Wash staring Richard Pryor, filmed at an actual car wash located on the corner of Rampart and 6th street in Los Angeles.

Riz Ahmed's favorite movie role after We Are Four Lions (2010).

The creators consulted with an LA-based "Stringer" organization called RMG News, owned and operated by Howard, Austin and Marc Raishbrook, who also feature in Netflix's original series 'Shot in the Dark' (2017). Two of the brothers appear very briefly as extras in the film after Lou arrives late to a fire.

The red car Jake Gyllenhaal drives in the second half of the film is a 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT8. He starts off driving a Toyota Tercel.

When Rick is filling up Lou's car with gas, a poster for the Tom Hanks film Capitaine Phillips (2013) is visible in the background.

The name of the first family whose house Lou enters without permission is Cahill, the same last name as Gyllenhaal's character in Brothers.

Jake Gyllenhaal did most of his own driving scenes, including the climactic car chase at the end.

Although a sexual relationship is alluded to in a couple of conversations between Louis and Nina, the two actors never make any physical contact with each other, aside from shaking hands.

During a Q&A, director Dan Gilroy stated that he views Lou's insane drive as an "infection" that spreads to each character Lou interacts with throughout the film. At the closing of the film, where Lou's company vans are parting ways down different streets is, as Gilroy describes, "the infection spreading through the veins of the city."

Body Count: 8

Once Jake Gyllenhaal signed on to do Nightcrawler I knew it would be a special film. The man has been producing nothing but gold lately and this is no different. Nightcrawler is an experience - it takes you on this journey through the grimy streets of LA, through the corrupt minds of media moguls, and everything is told through the eyes of seemingly charming slimeball reporter Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Nightcrawler works on so many levels. The writing and direction is fantastic, which is especially impressive as it's the directorial debut by Dan Gilroy who takes on both duties. He had a clear vision of how he wanted to portray LA and the sleek, brooding yet slightly lackadaisical tone transfers perfectly onto the big screen. The acting is phenomenal - Gyllenhaal gives a performance that's the polar opposite from his character in Prisoners and he was on point for every second. He was the perfect casting choice to carry the movie.

The movie has a clear message on the media and how they abuse stories and reap the benefits regardless of who gets victimized. It's a message that has been told a million times before, but never quite like this. Nightcrawler throws you right into the gritty streets along with a hustling thief, Lou, who starts freelancing as a videographer of crime scenes and selling his footage to a news channel for money. We go along this journey with Lou and watch his transformation from being a sleazy but ambitious individual to becoming a manipulative, self-serving sociopath. Then you start to realize that he was like that all along. His charming charisma masked his true intentions, and this peek into his psyche is the most potent and disturbing aspect of the movie. It's a character study that encompasses an entire lifestyle, and told with enough elegance and wit to keep you on board the whole way.

There's a dark comedic tone present throughout. Lou's persistence and crass remarks to basically anyone he encounters provide some good laughs. He doesn't sugarcoat anything, he'll talk to anyone in order to get his way, and he has a sleazy smirk that never fails to get a reaction. Also Gyllenhaal's chemistry with Rene Russo (the news director) is palatable and their work dynamic becomes more of a gripping co-dependency as the movie progresses.

Nightcrawler is a must-watch for fans of cinema. It's a work of art from a directorial and writing standpoint, from an acting standpoint, and from a basic human nature standpoint. It really does a hell of a job at sucking you into this dark gloomy world to the point where you don't want to get out. It's intense, it's funny, it's thrilling, it's powerful, and most of all, it's real. Nightcrawler is simply sensational.
If you take the slick look of Drive and the satirical wit of Network, you get Nightcrawler. This film is a genius first film for director Dan Gilroy, it is darkly comedic, surprisingly disturbing and is brilliantly acted. The film tells the story of Lou Bloom, a freelance videographer who covers the crime world in LA for a local news station and ruthless editor played by Rene Russo. It isn't before long until Bloom's demented job overtakes his life, making him colder and colder the deeper he goes. The film plays like a twisted bloody version of Network and has the satirical wit to back it up. Jake Gyllenhaal is utterly fantastic in this film. Lou Bloom is a role that he is completely submerged in and it oozes through every frame as our dislike for Bloom intensifies throughout the film. But what this film does best is not make us particularly like Bloom but it makes us wonder what he is willing to do next. And trust me, his actions get as sick and as shocking as they come. Bloom is a depraved individual and Jake Gyllenhaal deserves a hell of a lot acknowledgment for this role because he pulls off the tricky task of making the audience care about a character that is truly unlikeable and does so with not one false note. It is truly mesmerizing to see. The supporting cast including Rene Russo and Bill Paxton are absolutely great in this film and deliver career bests here. The cinematography also is top notch here, blending the awesome pallets of Drive with a bitter cold makes for an engaging view and makes it hard for you to peel your eyes from the screen. Writer/Director Dan Gilroy is someone to watch, especially coming out of the gates with a film filled with sheer and raw velocity like this one. It is not only an impressive first film but a brilliant film all around. I highly recommend it.
From Welles to De Niro to Hanks to Bale, Hollywood has a history of actors going through extreme body transformations. While Gyllenhaal's intense weight loss will easily fit this trend, to only focus on that part of his commitment to Nightcrawler would be overlooking how impressively gone he is as Louis Bloom, the focus of this intense character study about an overlooked and disturbed individual. It's not a particularly "pleasant" film, and the pacing is far from quick, but the tension between Louis and his world progresses so beautifully as to pin you right to your seat. Nightcrawler is an effectively scary, uncomfortably funny, and stylishly gritty tour de force. The premise, plot and protagonist are truly unique: a sociopath becomes a freelance news-cameraman, stopping at nothing to succeed. Though his arc seems implausible, Gilroy crafts it smoothly, and Gyllenhaal's disturbed perfection make it hard NOT to believe. His unsettling bug-eyed expression and breathtakingly inappropriate smile are magnetic. Much like Scorsese's Rupert Pupkin, Bloom seems to believe he is the star of his own story: delusional, bull-headed, and respectably determined. Luckily, there is more here than just Gyllenhaal; powerful set-pieces resound, and the beautifully cool ambient guitar score is among the best of the year, complimenting Gyllenahaal's uneasy intensity. Even the camera consistently reminds us where Bloom stands in the deeply LA locale. At the heart, it's smartly calling out our propensity for praising characters for their desires, reminding us that compassionless ambition is extremely dangerous. For our fame-starved culture, Nightcrawler is a good message within a great movie with an even greater lead performance. A true don't-miss!
This movie was both fun and terrifying. Jake Gyllenhaal's performance as Lou Bloom will certainly frighten you. He is brilliant when paired with the amazing monologue style rants written for him.

Lou Bloom is a driven man reminiscent of a sociopath who finds he has a talent as "nightcrawling" in that he takes videos of true crimes as they are happening to be broadcast on the news. His motivation and seeming lack of empathy allow him to break through and take the controversial images, and sell them with a strong aptitude for negotiation.

As a character, he grows more and more "motivated" and seems to learn his business in such a way to bring him amazing success, but to the determinant, perhaps, of his assistant and the victims of these crimes.

The writer/ director of this movie (making his directorial debut) certainly understands fear and comedy. The simplest scene was made into a laugh by the angles and cuts.

It's funny, and enjoyable, but still terrifying enough to feel like a real horror thriller.
Nightcrawler from the very beginning is not a traditional Hollywood film. It certainly does not follow the narrative of one and even though it has the three-act structure we are all familiar with, it spins them around. This is particularly evident in the third act, incredibly suspenseful with a brilliant, almost anti-climax. Suspense is the main key to this film's success, it build and builds to the point where the last twenty minutes of the film are completely unpredictable. Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut here has shown a real understanding of how to keep an audience engaged and following a character who isn't an easy man to spend a great deal of time with. Gilroy's screenplay is fast paced and one of the finest this year. The script focuses the audience on the characters, Louis Bloom particularly yet the supporting characters are just as impressive by Bill Paxton and Rene Russo alike. It doesn't follow the rules of a typical script, we are introduced instantly to a criminal and this man is supposed to be our protagonist. Yet what becomes clear is that there is not a protagonist in Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal's Louis Bloom is the antagonist. He can be described as nothing less than a psychopath and his portrayal by Gyllenhaal is one of his greatest performances. He is very gaunt here, losing a lot of weight for the role, however that is not the main reason for his impressive performance. Gyllenhaal is an actor who continues to impress me; his work in Enemy from earlier this year was just as brilliant. He has chosen excellent roles in films such as Zodiac, Prisoners and End of Watch. The cinematography is also fantastic, night-time LA has not looked this good since 2011's Drive. All these elements come together to make a captivating piece of filmmaking, a film I expect will be discussed more as time goes on.
"Nightcrawler" is the kind of film that will catch audiences by surprise with its painstaking thoughtfulness, and features the kind of lead character that will be discussed in film circles who don't detest American cinema and actually give it the benefit of the doubt. The film plunges us into the dark, seedy world of a nightcrawler, somebody who, often working freelance with his or her own equipment and schedule, patrols the streets of crowded cities with multiple police scanners searching for recently-committed crimes in the neighborhood, like rape, shootings, murders, car accidents, and so forth. The object of a nightcrawler is to get candid and intimate shots of the ugliness that plagues these scenarios as quickly and as neatly as possible and sell them to news stations or eyewitness programs to turn quick profit. Job requirements include possible insomniac, lack of emotional connection or any immediate empathy to tragedy or horror, exceptional navigational/driving skills, and a load of free time.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a man at rock-bottom living in Los Angeles, selling scrap metal to get money before eventually turning to the nightcrawling business. He teams up with Rick (Riz Ahmed), a young man desperate to make money to keep a roof over his head, who helps navigate Lou's routes as a nightcrawler and learns of numerous police codes to help Lou decipher the police scanner jargon. Together, the two make for an amateur nightcrawling team, turning profit by selling the footage – expertly shot, analyzed, and even occasionally manipulated by Lou – to Nina (Rene Russo), the station manager of a severely failing news station that is in dire need to regain viewership.

Ultimately, "Nightcrawler" juggles two tricky but immersing features with its material, simultaneously giving us a look into a grimy and often dirty gig as somebody who is essentially a voyeur into the most vulnerable time of the people he meets and posing frightening commentary on contemporary news. The nightcrawler is not looking to help or to provide encouragement; he's there to get his shots and move on, hoping to turn as large of a profit as he can. We see Los Angeles in the light of what could be classifiable as a contemporary film noir, in dark, sometimes shadowy-photography and dingy environments that reveal an ugliness to a city that is normally captured as very beautiful and ideal in terms of climate. Director Dan Gilroy and cinematographer Robert Elswit (a frequent collaborator of Paul Thomas Anderson) do everything in their power to subvert our ideas of Los Angeles and focus on transitory locations that show the ugliest of human events in such a way that is beautiful and captivating thanks to crystal-clear photography.

The other feature "Nightcrawler" toys with is the contemporary exploration of journalistic ethics and how, with local cable news competing with so many twenty-four hour news stations, who, in turn, are also battling more rapidly-updated social media websites, the manipulation of news is ever-present on Television. News programs, like sitcoms, reality shows, and sports events, are a game of numbers and those numbers are ratings – something that "Nightcrawler" makes depressingly clear to us. A crucial scene to this message comes into play when Lou has shot and sold the defining tape of his career and has worked to manipulate it for personal gain. He watches as Nina plays the tape on the air, directing the news anchors in such a specific way in terms of language and mannerisms that we see the fear-mongering happen right before our eyes.

On top of all the social commentary, we see amazingly realistic crime scenes and car accidents to boot. Perhaps it's the lack of intimacy many directors lend to these situations, often showing a car accident, and characters limping and trudging along with little bloodshed, but "Nightcrawler" details these scenes with an incredible eye for attention and realism. Gilroy makes us the voyeur and gives the window into these car accidents that we glance over to see but not entirely anticipate or really want to see. The attention to detail in these seems is simply exquisite and uncommonly believable.

"Nightcrawler," in addition, features a wonderful performance by Gyllenhaal who, like his co-star Paul Dano in last year's "Prisoners," plays detached and empty with such conviction, and channels something of an inner-Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Owning Mahowny," showing his character's complete fulfillment when obsessing over his job and his work. Even Riz Ahmed shouldn't be overlooked here, playing the overworked and under-appreciated assistant to Gyllenhaal's Lou in a role that could've been an empty, and even distracting, side role. The entire project is rich in commentary, performances, and environmental beauty that it could easily be one of the most complete films of the year.
Nightcrawler seems like a satire to modern television news about how they choose their leads or often seek for more ratings by entertaining their viewers rather than aim straightly to the facts. But there is a much interesting story beneath here and that is the main character, Louis Bloom. The guy that easily manipulates people with his sinister tricks of persuasion. Everything else may just be the natural world of crime and accidents, but in the eyes of this character, the experience is made far stranger and oddly fascinating. This provides a compellingly menacing and provoking piece of commentary which results to such engrossing film.

What the plot mostly does is to fully absorb the viewers into the character of Bloom by studying his sociopathic behavior and the words coming out from his mouth. He is a charming young man with a dark intention hidden behind his grins. He pushes the limits of the law and his own safety, only to accomplish on what he must do in the job, even if it risks many people's lives. The actions of this antihero is ought to feel terrifying on how it affects to both the business he's working on and the society he is watching. The media's side however is more of a picture of cynicism on how they broadcast the scariest stories of the city, giving the people fear so they could earn more viewers out of the concern. It just breaks down on how the evil of their success is disguised as their own ethics.

The filmmaking perfectly captures their night's work. You couldn't clearly see the scenario they shoot unless you watch them on a video footage. The violence and peril they witness are shown without any hint of sympathy, since they only use them for the news show. The horror of these gritty scenes once again belongs to the nightcrawler. Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the biggest highlights here. His character obviously has the personality of a psychotic villain; he is mostly bluffing, and by the dashing enthusiasm he shows to the people around him, you probably may not know when his inner total madness will burst out from his frightening eyeballs, and that provides more tension than you expect. This is one of the Gyllenhaal performances that will be remembered for his career.

Out of common sense, this story may lead its main character to a moral about how much he is taking this job too far, probably destroying his humanity. But no, this guy is relentless, almost inhumane, and his style in fact helps his career grow bigger, which turns out we are actually rooting for a villain. And that probably pictures to some oppressive ambitious beings out there behind some system. This is where things go in the end, bringing an outcome to a social satire. You can spot a lot of relevance even when some of the situations get a little out of hand. Nightcrawler is something else than a sentiment, what we must focus here is Lou Bloom: a new, possibly iconic, movie vigilante, except the only skin he is purposely saving is himself and his career.
Whereas Gone Girl explored the wild misconceptions and dangerous influence of the media, Nightcrawler explores another even more corrupted facet of the entity's nature: shamelessly capitalizing on the popularity of crime television—violence, murder, blood, gunshots. The program's ratings continue heightening along with the network's desire for even more thrilling footage. Nightcrawler follows Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he climbs up the ladder of success and builds a career through rash ambition. Lacking a formal education and adequate work experience, he's truly a victim of the unfair modern job market/unemployment. So, he says "screw it" and takes matters into his own hands, acting with sheer desperation and eagerness to reach that level of power and affluence America so often glorifies.

After personally witnessing a car accident on the freeway as snooping reporters close in, the scene lights a fire inside Louis and inspires him to give the job a try. Soon afterwards, he purchases a camcorder and a radio scanner, persistently discovering new crime scenes to capture on tape as intimately as he possibly can. Thus, his extensive coverage grabs the attention of a morning news channel, and a special relationship forms therein: a consistent supply of new gruesome/entertaining crime footage for an increasing sum of money. As we see the frightening lengths Louis is willing to strive towards in order to prove himself as a proficient workingman and elevate his value above and beyond, this grave thriller intermittently surprises us with effectively mocking twisted humor, but the incredibly deranged human psychology on display keeps us startled and tense throughout regardless.

Gyllenhaal arguably gives the absolute best performance of his career in a role that substantially differentiates from his earlier work. His creepy, relaxed composure hides the true inner scariness and ferocity. Publicly, Louis is a professional, polite, and upstanding citizen who's just looking to work hard. Privately, he violently yells in front of a mirror until he shatters it, as well as blackmails a TV news director to further his career. Rene Russo also impresses as the morning news director—almost as daring in her lust for more provocative violent imagery—who's beguiled by this eccentric and only (mistakenly) fuels Louis' psychotic drive. In addition, Riz Ahmed's Rick serves as Louis' gullible, clueless "employee" who just wants to escape the dispiriting state of homelessness and finally earn a living, completely unaware of the perilous and unethical situations he'll be cast in along his employer's selfishly ruthless path.

This isn't the kind of film whose quality solely relies on a central performance because the narrative is just as cruelly gripping. Unfortunately, the film industry is stocked with so many safe crowdpleasers and compromising thrillers that it's wholly refreshing to see these uncompromisingly grim, chilling psychological character studies occasionally pop up. The film becomes more morally repulsive and disturbing as it proceeds while the satire on the American Dream and merciless ambition becomes that much more brutal. Nightcrawler is deeply unsettling as well as it is honest in its portrayal—Los Angeles is actually the perfect setting, beautifully shot in its alluring and deceptive nighttime scenery. After all, it is probably the #1 destination for the unrelentingly audacious and reckless individuals of the nation in search of a prosperous career.
Lou is a sociopath. Its established at the beginning of the film. Lou will beat you senseless for 100 feet of chain link fence and a fake Rolex.

That he has the drive and audacity to thwart the conventions of decent behaviour without regard to human cost marks him as a sure winner in our dog eat dog world ( unregulated or laissez faire capitalism).

And win he does as he exploits any and every vulnerability his avaricious instincts detect. Whether it be the vulnerability of a news director depending on ratings to keep her job or a down and out young homeless man who will do anything to improve his circumstances.

He's found inspiration, valediction and encouragement in his discovery of 'deep' business platitudes masquerading as acumen on the internet.

Sought, found and, proudly, digested and regurgitated context free, at every opportunity he exhorts and extorts and threatens with the naive impunity of the sociopathic internet autodidact that he is. He is proof that knowledge is power and that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing indeed

All vulnerabilities must be seen as opportunities and exploited immediately without any regard or the well being of the people involved. They have been deigned by fate to further his cause. That's just how it is in is in his twisted little narcissistic world.

Its an ambitious film that takes on the reality of a society where opportunity is freed from the restraints of common decency by a winner take all ethos fuelled only by the bottom line. This is our dystopia just slightly exaggerated for effect.

A brilliant film expertly realised by all involved.
Nightcrawler is slang. I will not ruin or spoil anything in this review. Jake Gylenhall has never been better. His character must have been incredibly hard to play, and you will see why. There is a reason this Thriller & Drama opened on Halloween. His character is ambitious to a fault & highly intelligent. He interacts most often with Rene Russo & a man he calls his intern. If you thought Julius Caesar was ambitious or Alexander the Great, this character must have the same motivation to succeed minus the goal of conquering the world. Needless to say he is driven. Russo is also ambitious, so they make a good team. The difference is how far each is willing to cross the lines of morality, legality & humanity.

The movie is original in every sense. There has never been a movie similar in the character or the situation, and the movie makes an open commentary about an important but not political aspect of American society. To say it was gripping would be literal. I looked down at one point, and I was clutching my outer thigh. The movie is tense & intense. Every move seems known to Gylenhall but not to anyone else. If you like entrepreneurs, this movie will appeal to that in one aspect. Overall, it is definitely a Thriller full of danger & illegality. It is Gylenhall versus the world, if he were a diplomat & the world represented achieving his goals. That's his character around others. When left unwatched, even for a moment, he devolves into a character that does whatever it takes.

See this movie for the originality. See it if you enjoy thrillers. See it because he gives the best acting performance of his life in a character with many sides. See it for fun. See it for a cool fast car. Or, the fact it is tracking above 8 stars out of 10 which is about as good as it gets on IMDb, considering that is the average of thousands & thousands of ratings by people as diverse as patrons watching on a Washington, D.C theater. From that number you can safely predict it's very likely you will find it as highly entertaining as the international average (plus or minus 1 star). In my estimation, I reserve a 9/10 rating for the best of the best. 10/10 stars are for the greatest movies. This is easily the best of the best.

One friendly tip: If you are on heart, or anxiety medication, take it as scheduled or if it's as needed, make sure it's within reach.

Knox D. Alford, III
This is one of the few films that has held me in my seat from beginning to very end even when half way through I desperately needed to visit the bathroom . The storyline, script, filming and acting combine into the perfect storm of a brilliant film. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a character, on what I can only describe as at the higher end of the autistic spectrum and deserves an Oscar nomination for this role. His character is perfectly matched by Rene Russo playing the role of her career as the success seeking ageing news editor. And a shout too for Riz Ahmed as Rick, Gyllenhaal's assistant. What a contrast to "The Judge" which I saw last week, "Nightcrawler" is superior on every level, go see !
Jake Gyllenhaal's Lou Bloom is an instant classic scuzzball character. He echoes the memorable sociopaths played by Robert DeNiro in his prime (Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy and Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver), but he's less sympathetic than either of those. A parasite on the prowl, Bloom soon fixates on a career ideally suited to his amoral loner/ go-getter character—as a crime journalist during L.A.'s night hours. He listens for crimes in progress on his police scanner, speeds to the scene, and then angles for the most shocking, risqué footage he can possibly get away with.

New colleagues Nina (Rene Russo), the struggling news producer he goes to first, and Rick (Riz Ahmed), a desperate "intern" railroaded into the nightmare, are exploitable because they want what Bloom can give them—money, work, success. The risks he takes and the lines he crosses are mainly ethical ones at first, but he quickly realises the quickest way to make a name for himself is to get truly sensational footage. The kind that requires taking bigger risks, and eventually endangering lives.

Bloom is the most detestable character I've seen in ages. He's a soulless cockroach rummaging through the misfortunes of others, ravenously feeding off violent crimes, sometimes while they're still happening. But the news station keeps on buying what he's selling. Viewer ratings spike with each successive horror scene that hits the air.

Writer/director Dan Gilroy makes us squirm from start to finish here because Bloom is so queasily familiar. We all know people who share his traits, even if they don't take them to such extremes. He's society's Frankenstein's monster, made from all the worst parts of capitalism. He'll achieve success by any means, and he's proud of that.

With End of Watch and Prisoners, and now Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal is finding the sort of edgy, dangerous roles relished by great actors of the 1970s, and he's attacking them with gusto. This might be his best performance yet. The film itself is a darkly comic treat. It's tense and unsettling as a thriller, but the most fascinating part is seeing how far this scumbag will take his obsession, and how much we'll allow him to get away with.
You leave the movie theatre with a slightly sick feeling of guilt after watching Nightcrawler. Guilt that you actually enjoyed this rather original movie-making set in an ethical and moral vacuum. In that sense the movie is entirely ironic. You shouldn't be enjoying this stuff.

It's an exposition of entirely greed-induced (financial and ego driven) naked ambition that rivals Wolf of Wall Street for it's blithe abandon of normal ethical practice.

Gyllenhaal, as Louis Bloom, almost cadaverous after his dramatic weight loss for the part, is as unsympathetic a movie character as you've seen in a very long time. His back story, which is precisely zilch, renders him a character in search of a meaning. A loner, a drifter, a thief, unemployed (unemployable is the truth) and entirely without remorse - emotion for that matter - stumbles upon a freelance career as an, at first hapless then really rather good, ambulance chasing 'scene of the crime' news cameraman.

Starting with motorway crashes and graduating to suburban crime scenes (where the threat of middle America being intruded upon by 'Hispanics' and other Liberal American ethnic minorities) he captures more and more challenging newsreel material that feeds the sensation-lust of an LA loser News Station's News Editor, Nina Romina, played deliciously by Rene Russo.

Romina's sponsorship of, and belief in, the expert blagging of Bloom feeds his desire for greater success and indeed for Romina herself. In a toe curling 'date' at a camp Mexican restaurant Bloom lays it on the line with Romina in a scene of toe-curling embarrassment. It's as if Gyllenhaal is playing for laughs, but he's deadly serious.

Throughout, Gyllenhaal commands the screen. The Nightime lighting constantly picking out his skeletal, eye bulging look that makes him look like the devil incarnate. This truly is an evil character and Gyllenhaal's trademark smirk only adds to the perverse sense of evil pleasure he is gaining as his success mushrooms.

A recurring theme in the movie is his watering of a pot plant in his flat. It's as if it's the only living thing he cares two bucks about. Certainly his hapless sidekick/assistant Rick, played by Riz Ahmed, has next to no chance in this little hothouse world of emotion-free ambition.

Gyllenhaal's faux management style 'development' of Rick is at times darkly amusing but usually just plain vacuous and ironic given that he draws from real world self help and management lingo that's bad enough in the corporate world, but downright bizarre in this micro universe.

The car chases are gripping edge of seat affairs, the plot, although it has holes in the final reel (quite big ones I felt) is nevertheless highly original and unfolds at a steady pace.

The conclusion was, to my mind at least, a little disappointing, but aside from this a good, dark, star vehicle for Jake and possibly a step towards another best actor nomination.
Jake Gyllenhaal brings the performance of his career to this disturbing and compelling film that follows Lou Bloom in his quest to become the best at his newfound job no matter what the consequences may be. This film and Gyllenhaal's performance were so mesmerizing that i was completely engaged in this movie for the full 2 hour runtime. Even in the few instances when there was not much happening on screen, i was at the edge of my seat at all times. The supporting cast from Rene Russo to Riz Ahmed also put in strong performances that only added to the overall quality of the film. Gyllenhaal really makes his character one of the most memorable characters of the year, one that stands out from all other films. When people mention Jake Gyllenhaal from now on, this will be the movie i think of first. There is never a dull moment in this very well directed and acted piece of art that i believe may even land Gyllenhaal an Oscar nomination.
Dancing Lion
Dancing Lion
When we first meet Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), he's cutting sections of chain-link fence from a construction site to sell for scrap. It's not exactly the ideal way to make a living, and Bloom certainly aspires to greater things - he even lobbies unsuccessfully for a job at the scrapyard, but the manager isn't keen on hiring thieves. But while driving home, Bloom comes across an auto accident, with emergency personnel working frantically to free a woman trapped in the wreckage while the entire scene is being filmed by an independent cameraman (Bill Paxton) hoping to sell the footage to a local news station.

Something about this profession strikes a chord with Louis, and it doesn't take long before he's armed himself with a shoddy police scanner and a cheap camcorder, trying to get his feet wet in his newly adopted vocation. Louis quickly learns that the veterans don't take kindly to newcomers, and they're not about to share any tricks of the trade, but Louis's lack of experience is more than balanced out by his cunning and ingenuity. In one early scene, as late night news director Nina (Rene Russo) tells him that she already has footage from the same incident he recorded, Louis smiles warmly and informs her that he was closer to the subject, with a better angle - but he's not trying to bargain with her, he's just merely passing along information, with just the right amount of aloofness to pique her interest.

With her station struggling desperately for ratings, Nina strikes up a deal with Louis, giving her first option on whatever footage he captures from his late-night escapades. The relationship bears fruit quickly, with the station boasting a steady string of high-rated scoops, and Louis trading in his beat-up hatchback and low-grade equipment for a Dodge Charger and a GPS-enabled police scanner complete with a touchscreen interface. He also acquires the services of Rick, a homeless "intern" that assists with navigation and operating the second camera in exchange for a paltry thirty bucks per night, and Louis's constant promises of developing his skills to further his "career."

As Louis continues to outrun and outsmart his fellow nightcrawlers, he comes obsessed with recognition, and the power that comes from it. He demands that the name of his "news company" be read by the morning anchors anytime his footage is shown, he insists that he be introduced to the TV station executives and credited with Nina's ongoing success, and he subtly threatens to offer his footage to rival news outlets unless Nina yields to his romantic advances. And he does all of these things, and plenty more, with a frighteningly genial disposition, his face always lit up with a cheerful grin.

While roles in Enemy and Prisoners afforded Gyllenhaal the opportunity to play characters that inhabit some dark spaces, there's something even more compelling about watching him disappear into the mind of a complete sociopath. No matter what deplorable and horrific action Louis takes over the course of Nightcrawler's two- hour running time, he never shows the slightest hint of guilt or remorse, remaining singularly focused on achieving his goals at any cost. Combined with Gyllenhaal's dramatic physical change - he lost over 20 pounds for the role, with his hollowed eyes and gaunt appearance adding to the creepiness - it's a fascinating performance, and among the actor's best work to date.

Undeniably disturbing and unapologetically cynical, Nightcrawler is also an acerbic derision of what passes for "journalism" in today's society, where actually reporting the news has become far less important than providing ghastly imagery for the public to devour en masse. One of the film's best sequences plays with this very idea, as the stomach-churning choices that Louis makes after arriving at the scene of a home invasion are justified when Nina agrees to the exorbitant price he places on the footage. The exchange borders on outrageous, and yet we can't help but wonder how authentic it might be. After all, as Paxton's character says wisely, "If it bleeds, it leads."
The term "psychopath" is frequently used to describe murderers and other dangerous criminals, but in fact, it denotes an emotional disorder which limits or deletes the feelings for other people. Despite the stigmata entailed by the word, there are millions of perfectly functional psychopaths having normal lives, because their lack of compassion, remorse or affection doesn't automatically make them murderers. In fact, many businessmen and politicians are probably psychopaths whose rise is due to the fact that they never stopped to think in other people. The main character from Nightcrawler is one of those psychopaths. The screenplay and direction from this film are brilliant, and they would be enough reasons to make it worthy of an enthusiastic recommendation, but the main pro from Nightcrawler is Jake Gyllenhaal's monumental performance, which perfectly allows us to see an intelligent and organized psychopath quickly advancing in an unethical but legal (most of the time) business which is designed for people with null empathy for other human beings. Gyllenhaal's performance is truly magnificent, and he deserves all kinds of acclamation for it. Besides of that, Nightcrawler offers us a fascinating look into real "nightcrawling", and reveals the factors which promote it, starting by the fierce competition between TV channels and the obsession for the "ratings". But screenwriter Dan Gilroy (who was also the director) doesn't limit himself to seek corporative villains, but he also humanizes the struggle to have an audience in the shape of the character Nina, brilliantly played by Rene Russo. In conclusion, Nightcrawler is an extraordinary thriller with an excellent screenplay, perfect direction and great performances (besides of Gyllenhaal and Russo, I would also like to mention the perfect works from Riz Ahmed and the great Bill Paxton). I hope Nightcrawler doesn't end up being a "hidden gem", because it truly deserves to be appreciated and enjoyed... even though it leaves us uncomfortable and paranoid once we leave the cinema.
This film essentially tells the story of an ambitious and somewhat psychotic news video freelancer (played by Jake Gyllenhall) who will do anything, literally, to make his way in the world and be successful and a media editor (played by Rene Russo) who,in her own world of news casting, also has few if any scruples when it comes to her career and reputation. Put the two together and you get an escalating set of events in which the video freelancer goes to greater and greater extremes to film shocking scenes of crime, encouraged along by the media editor who is paying for his results.

What makes the film more interesting than just another action drama is the social commentary and the character studies. The main characters are very well crafted, believable, explained through back drop and excellently acted out. The parallels between them are also interesting to observe. Both pretty much without any care for the people around them and focused solely on personal gain. What the video guy will do to get his paycheck is shocking, but what the media editor will do to get her news reel is just as distasteful.

The social commentary is also sharp. The media is portrayed essentially as caring about nothing but a good story, even in fact if that story happens to be untrue. What matters is the narrative and the narrative has to fit the agenda of the media agency. By this measure all news is little more than propaganda. The video guy, despite his barbaric methods and behaviour, is also tolerated by those around him and the message, at least from the media editor and her team (acknowledging one dissenting voice in the film), is that it is OK to be cruel and to hurt others if it is in the pursuit of personal ambition. Both are valid observations and comments on today's society, whether we, the viewers, happen to agree with them or not.

The film also has a touch of originality which isn't easy to do these days when so many movies have already been made. Yes there are studies out there of psychos, yes there are films that vilify the media and there are films about morbid voyeurism and about the exploitation of victims of crime for personal gain. The originality comes from putting them all together. I couldn't really think of a parallel, although others might.

This is well worth watching. You may not ultimately enjoy the film, after all it isn't pleasant, but I am fairly sure you will remember it.
I avoided Nightcrawler when it was initially stirring around because I thought it was some sort of X-Men spin off. Of course, once the positive reviews came flooding in and I realised that it wasn't about a flexible mutant, but about a man who becomes obsessed with filming violent street crimes for the news, I became interested.

Nightcrawler is a brilliant film and manages to do everything right. At the centre of it all is Jake Gyllenhaal's sensational performance as Lou Bloom. He's surely the most ruthless businessman since Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, although his autistic characteristics make him far less charming and compelling. Nonetheless, Jake completely morphs into the character and delivers a performance well worthy of an Oscar. His slimy grin is enough to make anyone's skin crawl and he's totally devoid of any moral compass, however you can't help but admire his knowledge and ambition.

The film clocks in at almost two hours but not even a second of a scene is wasted. After a fast-paced first half where we witness Lou's rise into the crime filming industry the film takes a slower, yet stronger approach in the second half where we focus on one particular case which is sure to shock. There are some wonderfully tense scenes towards the end of the film where I could not take my eyes off the screen. It's almost as if you're there in the street with the characters.

I loved how the media was so cynically portrayed here and the underlying themes of how voyeuristic society has become are relevant and dealt with well. The media is a ruthless business and it's great how the news values of having white, middle-class people under attack is put on display.

There's very little to fault with Nightcrawler. Not only is it intelligent, but it is also thoroughly entertaining with an engaging story and captivating main character who is sure to become a cult icon. Jake has never been better and some aspects of his performance are truly chilling. It's just a wonderfully made film and one which I hope to revisit fairly often.

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This film is ridiculous. The story, the acting, the photography, the editing, the music; it's all just ridiculously good.

The most outstanding features are the acting and the writing. Out of those, Jake's (I can't spell his last name) performance ranks up there with the most memorable screen characters ever, characters like Travis Bickle, Henry Chinasky (Barfly), Jeff Lebowski and Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates. And there are absolutely no weak links in the film's cast. Bill Paxton must be the safest bet in Hollywood, and for this film he's a necessity. All the acting is on par with Paxton's, which means it is all absolutely perfect, and inspired. Rene Russo is perfect as well, and Riz Ahmed is so good that this one film will make him a household name.

The writing seems too good to be true. The dialogue is as memorable as any movie's, and the story is so authentic that I thought this was based on a book. Apparently, this story was written by the director, a first timer. Watch the movie and I'm sure you'll ask yourself how that's possible. Unless there was a deal with the devil involved, I can't understand how such a great and developed story could come from thin air. Maybe we're witnessing the debut of a game-changing director, I don't know. What I do know is that Nightcrawler is one of my favorite films ever, and nobody should have needed to read this much before deciding to go see it.
I will keep it short, because the movie's plot is so "concise" that you cannot discuss it without giving it away.

Basically, it's 90% Jake Gyllenhaal playing a tightly wound weirdo, who clearly seethes with rage just below the surface. He is excellent at this, but that is really the whole movie. Renee Russo is also good, but her role is very secondary.

As the info sheet on the movie says, he becomes a roving cameraman, shooting crime scenes, and that's about all that happens. There are some scenes that show the lengths he will go to to make it, but that is about it. There is a purported moral lesson in the movie, which boils down to all the American viewer wants is blood and guts, not news. Not exactly the biggest revelation.

So Jake Gyllenhaal is excellent, Renee Russo is good too, but barely in it. So if a full movie of Jake Gyllenhaal doing a wound too tightly psycho, a la Anthony Perkins, is your idea of a good movie, this is for you.
The movie itself was pretty good. It had a nice pace and kept me interested the whole time.

But what grabbed my attention more was the symbolism I interpreted from the movie...

1. The Parasitic Media - The most obvious message/symbolism from this film is its portrayal of the media as nothing more than a parasitic entity. This is a sentiment I can agree with.

2. Channel 666 - Most of the symbolism didn't really rear its head until late in the film. When Lou was talking to Nina (Rene Russo) in the studio, they were standing in front of TV's stacked in rows of 3, all showing the channel 6 logo,obviously "666" aka Mark of the Beast...This was meant to catch your attention, so that you might pickup on the rest of the underlying symbolism. It also served as a further indictment on media, symbolizing that the media itself is "of the devil" or evil.

3. "I think Lou's had a big influence on us all" - When I heard Nina say this to the guy trying to warn her that she was letting Lou have too much influence on her, I somehow immediately understood the underlying message/symbolism... When she said "Lou has had a big influence on us all", this wasn't actually just a reference to the character "Lou", this was a veiled reference to Lucifer (aka Satan, aka the devil) having "a big influence on us all"...

$. "Lou" represents Lucifer - Now i don't mean that Lou is literally supposed to be Lucifer in the movie, but he is following the archetype and displaying the devil's traits. He tricks people and makes them feel as though they are being forced to make a deal with him... Nina is willing to sacrifice anything and decides to allow herself to be controlled and manipulated by Lou the lunatic, symbolically, this is her selling her soul to Lucifer. Lou's partner Rick almost walked away from it, but sin got the better of him, and he too ended up making a deal with Lou, again this symbolizes him selling his soul to the devil... Rick thought that if he could demand enough in return, it might actually end up being a fair deal for him, but that devil is tricky, and the moment he no longer had a use for Rick, he led Rick right into his eternal death. In the beginning of the movie, Lou tries to negotiate employment from the scrap yard owner, but the scrap yard owner firmly rebuked him, calling him out as a thief... The scrap yard owner chose not to sell his soul to the devil...

5. Rise of the Psychopath - It is actually quite common for those you might call "psychopaths" or "sociopaths" to attain positions of great power and influence... People who psychiatrists would label as psychopaths, are people who seek power by all means, and they have zero empathy or sympathy for others... Most people are not like this, a normal person has limits and boundaries, the "psychopath and/or sociopath" does not suffer these restrictions, and they take full advantage... It is a little known fact, that among those in the "super-elite class" it is common to find people that could be categorized as a psychopath, but others would say they're just plain evil, or bat-crap crazy... Anyhow, I believe that the director is also aware that it is quite common for people like Lou to work their way into positions of power. When the movie starts, Lou is a nobody, and by the end of the movie, this lunatic was well on his way to achieving his goal of owning a network. The message here is that places like Washington DC, Hollywood, and "Wall St.", are filled with "nutjobs" who have no sympathy or empathy for their fellow man, rather they seek to dominate and control their fellow man.

7. FINAL - Symbolism Synopsis - So what does all this symbolism culminate into? What overall underlying message did the director want to transmit? I'm not 100% sure...

What's with the 666/Lucifer symbolism? Would the director go to such great lengths to show the media as evil or corrupt? Was it necessary to bring Lucifer element into it, just to symbolically hammer home the most obvious message of the movie (that the media is evil)? That seems like overkill to me... I'm not really sure why he chose to use this Luciferian element... It certainly isn't an attempt at any kind of "pro-christian" message, nor does it in anyway culminate into an "anti-christian" message... What is he trying to say????

What do we have to work with? 1. Lucifer Symbolism 2. Media is Evil 3. "Mentally ill" people rise to positions of power

The only message I can see all this symbolism adding up to, is a message that the people with the most power are psychopathic satanists, who use all forms of media to manipulate and control us. I do NOT really endorse the notion that that was the underlying or hidden message in the movie... Some gigantic leaps must be made if one is to accept this interpretation...

But as far as I can tell, it's either that, or the symbolism is ONLY meant to further illuminate the evils of the media, which also doesn't seem likely...

And if the writer/director did intend for the symbolism to be interpreted along the lines of "satanic lunatics control the world", then why make it so veiled??? The symbolism is so subtle that anybody who is able to pickup on it, would have to already be knowledgeable on such subjects... Which would make trying to convey this underlying message to the masses pointless, because nobody is going to get it... Unless his intention was to be smug and rub your face in it, knowing you wont pickup on nor understand the underlying message.
Louis Bloom is something of a loner, a true sociopath, lacking any kind of empathy for anyone. In fact the only living thing he seems to show care for is his house plant that has pride of place next to the TV. He lives out of stealing and then reselling copper wire, fencing and most anything else he can get his hands on. One day he witnesses an accident and while the medics helps the driver, some men show up and record the whole thing. He learns that they intend to sell the footage to a TV news program, he thinks he may have found something he would be good at. He steals a bike to afford an video camera and a police radio and is soon spending his nights racing to accidents and crime scenes.

The film follows him on this journey and for each story he films he push the boundaries of legality and morality that little bit further, until he's trespassing, moving dead bodies, and even sabotaging rivals. Here you can see he's lack of empathy, he doesn't care victims at all. As long as he can get the best shot of them to earn him the most money.

Straight up, Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing. It's his best performance to date maybe even in his career he's been putting up some great performances before (Donnie darko, Prisoners, Enemy etc). Just all the details he puts in as his creepy grin and weird finger pointing and how he almost never blinks. Lou is one of the least likable character you seen in a long time thanks to him. I do hope he gets Academy award for this one, something he deserved for a long time.

What a directorial debut of Dan Gilroy. The directing was amazing, how each scene gave emotion. This is everything but a normal Hollywood film and constantly will surprise you (in a good way). The story is very well written and very original, the script is thrilling and intense, but funny at the same time. The humor is subtle and dark and everyone won't will get it. My theater had about 7-10 people. Only three people including me who laughed. Something a thought about was how good the cinematography is. The cinematographer really captured this mood of this underground LA with some amazing shots.

So to round this of, this film was the best I seen in a long time. I rate it 9.5/10.
The smalltime thief Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) lives stealing steel, bronze and copper material from the streets of Los Angeles and is seeking a job. When he sees a freelance cameraman filming an accident, he decides to invest money in a camcorder and a police scanner radio from a pawn shop. He overhears the name of Nina Romina (Rene Russo), who is responsible for the TV news of a television station and he sells his first footage. Louis learns how to improve his films and hires the homeless Rick (Riz Ahmed) to help him. When his competitor Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) discloses his new van and equipment to Louis, he sabotages his van, causing a serious accident. The ambitious Louis is a sociopath and for him gore means a better payment for his footages. So he leaves the position of crime photographer to interfere in crime scenes, climbing in his new career.

"Nightcrawler" is a weird and original movie with one of the bleakest characters that I have recently seen on the screen. Jake Gyllenhaal has an impressive performance in the role of an ambitious sociopath that is capable to do anything to climb in his new job. The plot is totally unpredictable and mesmerizes the viewer that can not foresee the next move of Louis. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Abutre" ("The Volture")
Let's start with Jake Gyllenhaal here. In a way, his performance can be criticized in the sense that it's one-dimensional. In almost every scene of the film (when he's not putting on a big, s***-eating grin, or yelling at a mirror), he comes wide-eyed, talking a SUPER game, and that game is how to get an opportunity and run with it, how to make the big deal. He has the same determined, crazed but leaning-on-'nice' fervor. And yet it's an actor giving it his all and it works. He finds the... is 'humanity' the word?

He's not even really a person, is he - he's less like your common garden variety sociopath. He's relentless, he tries on emotions for what he needs, and can barely sleep. If the movie suddenly revealed itself as an alien or a serial killer, you might believe it. And there's never a moment where Lou Bloom doesn't show that. Gyllenhaal, with his gaunt (he lost weight) appearance, his stream-lined word-a-second performance, is on fire here. He makes this guy completely terrifying, yet recognizable at times, too. Could we see this guy in our everyday life? Or maybe leading a self-help/money-managing seminar?

One of the wonderful things about Nightcrawler is how it appears as one thing, but it's about something else, or on top of it. When I mention that he's a sociopath, that's putting it lightly. He may talk in platitudes, in ways that, if you met this person in person you might wonder 'Is this for real? Is this guy just totally nuts?' But it's a metaphor - what would happen if the American Dream, the Horatio Alger situation, went completely to pot? We were told by the Supreme Court in America a few years back, in a matter of speaking, that a Corporation is a person, and that a Corporation should have the rights that any person has in the American process.

What Gilroy is trying out here (perhaps akin to a documentary from years back called The Corporation): what happens when a person IS a corporation, that they are always climbing the ladder, always finding the way to make a deal, to make a profit, to get up to the Next Level (in caps)? Everything is seen as status, and damn it all if Lou is going to see his profit margin go down, or a loss to happen, whether it's with his news footage that he's selling to the local station, or if he spots a security guard with his "fake" uniform. And, more to the point, when other, actual corporations (like, say, a news network) face such a being.

Nightcrawler has a main character as a villain - or, as I've called it (ala Walter White) an anti-villain. He's diabolical, you don't like this guy, he actually may make you sick to your stomach. But he's the "hero" still. And like a sort of "arch" villain he's got all his information together on so many things - thanks, Internet - and other people around him, like Rene Russo's news director, or his assistant, who is desperate and has to take this man with his slick-back hair at his word. Indeed the scenes with Russo, for me, almost verge on becoming incredulous; how much will she, who seems to be a more sane person, can take with this guy? But he throws his challenges at her, there's rebuffs, and... she needs him.

Gilroy's script is sharp and intense, finding a strong plot to hang it on (it's still a neo-noir ultimately, with crimes on going on at LA at night, shot with a strong eye by Robert Elswit), and yet, for me, it works best as a character study. By the very end it almost becomes TOO much. Can we believe this? Maybe it's the point - he's gone to this point because... he can. Or people let him, or don't catch him, or whatever. There are holes you can try to find here. It's not about that. Like Gone Girl, it's a satire that looks at media with the sickening perspective it possibly deserves. It's a movie that challenges the viewer to go where this character does, to squirm, to recognize what is in this person as being something in the real world.

Nightcrawler takes a risk to show this character - a cross perhaps between Daniel Plainview and Rupert Pupkin - and explore what happens when Capitalistic ambitions (and on a more we've-seen-this-before level 'if it bleeds it leads' critical pieces) go to/past their limits. It's incisive, it's stimulating, and self-conscious. 9.5/10
Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler is a bit of an unusual film. First off, Gilroy has never directed a feature film, or anything else to my knowledge. His start came with screen writing. The only particularly worthy bit of writing Gilroy has the credit for would be an interesting 2006 film called The Fall. Other than that his screenplays have mostly been for box office fodder like Real Steel or more recently The Bourne Legacy. Yet out of nowhere Gilroy both writes and directs a small film called Nightcrawler with not only Jake Gyllenhaal but also veterans such as Rene Russo and Bill Paxton. I say small because this film only had a budget of $8-million. Believe it or not that is actually small compared to most movies you see at the theatre. Compared with the $125-million budget of Gilroy's previous screen writing venture The Bourne Legacy an $8-million film is an indie. However, what Nightcrawler lacks in budget it makes up for in heart and storytelling.

Gyllenhaal is a tour-de-force in Nightcrawler. His character, Lou Bloom, is a wayward young man. The first time we see Lou it is in the early dark of night. He has a trunk full of stripper copper wire, and is in the process of cutting out a section of chain link fence. After decking a security guard, and stealing his watch, Lou visits a construction site where he proceeds to auction off the fence and wire. Right away the message is clear: Lou is a scavenger. Through mere coincidence he ends up witnessing a brutal car crash. As two police officers try rescuing the injured driver, Lou watches a guerilla television crew trying to get exclusive, gruesome footage of the accident. Lou asks a member of the crew (Paxton) if he could get a job, but is shooed away. On the morning news Lou sees the same footage he witnessed being taped the night before. This chance encounter leads to a new obsession Lou sets his sights on.

Essentially the film is a look at our modern society. Gyllenhaal plays a seriously motivated and possibly very unstable young go-getter who only wants to find something at which he can be successful. I believe Gilroy is attempting to present a look at not only how the media is a cutthroat and vicious business, but how we as modern viewers are also demanding more and more of this extreme footage. No longer are news channels simply a NASDAQ scroll on the bottom of the screen while reporters talk about elections and local events. Today the news is almost like a horror film reel at times from images of war to school shootings. Lou Bloom represents the younger generations today, and how we widely hold the view that anything can be a career. Even in this case, where Lou risks his own safety and the safety of those around him to get even 60-seconds of footage to auction off for television networks. In a day and age where the grotesqueness of reality television dominates ratings it isn't hard to imagine there are already plenty of Lou Blooms already out there exploiting car crashes and victims of gun violence for money.

Most reviews of Nightcrawler have been positive and I can't disagree: it is a cracking good film. Technology aside, it reminds me of a movie we could very well have seen in the 1960s. Gyllenhaal himself is worth the price of admission. He physically embodies the character of Lou; the way he walks and talks all frame him as a ghoul, out in the night to find dead bodies and other nasty business. It's really remarkable to see the young kid from Donnie Darko continually choose challenging, unique roles. Another thing I particularly liked about this film is the lack of a forced love story. Gilroy utilizes Rene Russo, playing a television a television network executive, here as a strong female character who is both complicated and flawed. He does not write her as a typical love interest so common in a lot of other mainstream films. Although there are a few sexually charged moments between Gyllenhaal and Russo, the film never falls prey to pushing anything in our faces, and stops very short; the plot never gets bogged down with unnecessary love scenes of any kind.

I can't help giving this a full ten star recommendation. Though I often try to avoid nitpicking a film to death because it ruins the fun, I'm definitely capable of admitting when a movie is not the greatest. Even if it's one I personally enjoy. But there is nothing about Nightcrawler I can pick apart. It's a refreshing film with a tight script, beautiful camera-work, and a genuinely starmaker performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Get out and see this. Now.