“If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket”, the words of Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young man determined to make a name for himself and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to do it. A thief and manipulator whose heightened level of survival instinct makes up for his lack of formal education. Dan Gilroy’s thriller Nightcrawler explores the mind of a sociopath that is driven by his need for something greater and and the emotional detachment that ensues when a person creates such a need. A film that will be talked about in the same breathe as American Psycho and Taxi Driver for years to come.
Louis Bloom is an self proclaimed “quick learner” who spends most of his time combing the internet for information to help him get ahead in the world. Louis is a loner who looks for ways to reach his personal goals, unfortunately that sometimes involves stealing to survive. By chance, Louis is introduced into the world of video journalism after stopping at a car accident. After a brief discussion with Joe (Bill Paxton), a current video journalist with years of experience in the field, Louis decides that this is the career path for him. After acquiring a camcorder and a radio scanner, Louis begins to learn the trade opting for on the job self training by filming a police activity around Los Angeles in hopes of selling the footage.
Louis finally gets lucky and films the end result of carjacking with some very detailed shots of a shooting victim on a stretcher and offers the video to a local news station. The news director, Nina (Rene Russo), pays Louis for the footage and encourages him to continue his work, a gesture which means the world to Louis. Feeling that he can’t achieve the level of success he desires without some help, Louis hires an assistant names Rick (Riz Ahmed), an easily manipulated street kid with little prospects and desperate for money. Together, the two begin to film some unbelievable crime scenes which allows Louis to purchase better equipment and transportation for the duo.
As the money begins to flow, Louis feels he’s in a position to demand more for his return and begins to push the ethical boundaries of not only his relationship with others, but also the footage he shoots. When a chance to film the crime scene of a triple homicide presents itself, Louis takes full advantage of the situation and takes it upon himself to enter the house and get as much footage as he can before the police arrive. Knowing the gold mine he’s filmed, Lou leverages his valuable footage to Nina to secure further recognition and compensation for future film. Louis has become the embodiment of everything he hoped to achieve, but can he continue down this path or will he become engulfed by the power within his grasp?
Nightcrawler is a real tour de force for Jake Gyllenhaal. Channeling his inner Patrick Bateman, Gyllenhaal maneuvers Dan Gilroy’s script with precision and turns in the best performance of his career. Dan Gilroy does a great job not only writing the film, but also sitting in the directors chair his first ever film. Gilroy allows the amazing eye of cinematographer Richard Elswit to help create his vision and the result is dark, gritty film that is haunting in its realism.
Overall, Nightcrawler is one of the years most original films and will certainly be a player come Oscar time. The performance of Jake Gyllenhaal alone is worth the price of admission. This is one film you should run out and see.
4 out of 5
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