The trailers appeared to depict Jake Gyllenhaal, Louis Bloom, as a camera man who attempts to get the story first, film it, and sell it to a television station. Louis appeared to lose it when he arrived a crime scene before the cops did, uncovers something he isn’t supposed to, and possibly gets hunted down or targeted because of it. This is what I thought the movie would be, but I was very much caught off guard.
“Nightcrawler” is actually a critique of 24 hours news and a study of man all wrapped up into one. It does still star Jake Gyllenhaal as a camera man but not so much in over his head as he is creating his own chaos. The story begins with Mr. Bloom selling scrap metal that he stole and along the way home from this encountering an accident and subsequently following that encountering Bill Paxton, playing Joe Loder, a fell Nightcrawler, who drives around Los Angeles at night capturing the car crashes, shootings, and stabbings as they happen, hopefully before the police even arrive, and sell the footage to a news station. Armed with a camera and a police scanner he buys from a pawn shop, Louis finds the gory blod spatter crime and films it and then sells it to local news station who is run by Rene Russo, playing Nina Romina. Utilizing the help of his trusty, but ultimately non-essential, side kick, Rick, played by Riz Ahmed, Louis’s company grows, and akin to Gordon Gecko, so does his power, worth, and ruthlessness.
Now Gyllenhaal, is unrecognizable in this film. A friend of mine told me that he was told by the director, Dan Gilroy, that Gyllenhaal was told to appear in the scenes literally hungry and his character comes across as such. Maniacal and vascular, Louis is equal parts cold and calculating and, if this film gains some notoriety, he will become an iconic character and reminded me of equal parts Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and Tom Cruise’s character from Collateral. I don’t know why Gyllenhaal chose this role but I suggest you see it for the sole purpose of witnessing his skill as an actor and never watch the movie again, because, it is, well….pretty damn dark.
Now, what I was referring to before, about this being a critique of the 24 hour news network, isn’t hard to miss. Ms. Romina is shown instilling fear into her audience and creating a story that was fairly fictitious all the while employing people like Mr. Bloom to go out and find gorier and gorier stories, because, stories like that pay and keeps the viewers interested. I also feel that this movie illustrates one possible, and I say that very lightly, outcome of what happens when you put a man in a corner. Bloom’s back is against the wall. He steals to survive and once he finds his career, he never lets go of it and quickly dispatches people who get in his way. Now, is he just a man chasing the American dream, or is he a sicko who managed to make a ton of money off of doing something that he really liked? I don’t know but maybe you do. What are your thoughts? If you’ve seen the movie, let me know what you think. And if you haven’t…check it out…and then let me know what you think.