The City Shines Brightest at Night; a review of Nightcrawler (2014)


Nightcrawler (2014) tells the story of Lou Bloom, a man of LA who gets into crime journalism – showing up at crime scenes in the area; filming police and victims; and selling it to news stations for money. So it’s basically my life story: filming something and begging someone to pay me a sum of money. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou, who blurs the line between filming a crime scene to eventually participating in the action to get by in this world.

For a directorial debut from newcomer Dan Gilroy, I gotta say this is an impressive introduction into this man’s eye. The film was beautifully shot, sticking to concrete traditional techniques ranging from matches on action to sticking to the 180 degree rule of continuity editing. From an aesthetic standpoint, I’d say this was one of the better looking movies I’ve seen this year. Obviously it wasn’t as grand a spectacle as Interstellar (2014), but c’mon. That took place in space and this takes place in Los Angeles. I gotta tell you, though, aside from the look of the film, my praise for it comes due to the performance from Gyllenhaal.

The movie doesn’t have that many BIG names in it. The only two really that recognizable besides Gyllenhaal are Bill Paxton and Rene Russo; and even then I was the only one of my friends who knew those two people. They were good in their respective roles, they played the parts well and served their purpose, sure. However it’s Gyllenhaal who truly carries the only because he’s the protagonist with a clear cut goal; but because he plays arguably one of the most interesting characters in recent Hollywood cinema. You can tell right from the beginning this guy has something out of whack about him. Like as if everything he knows in life he googled and memorized the Wikipedia article. You don’t wanna say he’s a bad guy, but he’s quite far from good for sure. With characters like Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) or Kenny Powers from the television show Eastbound & Down (2009-2013), you know these aren’t good people. You know they’re assholes and should get what they deserve; yet the irony of it all is you can’t help but root for them. That alone is good writing; but to give me a character who wants something and I can’t tell if this guy is good or bad, therefore I can’t decide if he should attain his goal, THAT makes for an interesting character.

Plot wise, the movie is very tight, it’s clear cut what not only the protagonist, Lou, wants, but the supporting characters as well. It was very reflective of films like Taxi Driver (1976) and Drive (2011) and I would not be surprised if Nightcrawler was influenced by either of these films (Especially the former).  I was never bored during this movie, and I honestly think it was Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performance since Brokeback Mountain (2005). Maybe even better.

Overall Rating: 7.5 – Very Good

Very interesting story; Jake Gyllenhaal owns the roll; and one of the best looking films of the year. This will certainly make my top 10 movies of 2014 and I highly recommend it to anyone moderately interested in it. Even if you aren’t, give it a shot. Hell, just go see it.





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