Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an intense and mesmerizing performance in Nightcrawler – a film that captures the audience in the opening moments and keeps them on the edge of their seats until the end credits roll.
Gyllenhaal is joined by an incredible cast of character actors including Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, Kevin Rahm, Ann Cusack and Riz Ahmed. Writer/dirctor Dan Gilroy sets the story in the gritty streets of Los Angeles and injects the film with a glossy pseudo-documentary feel – similar to the approach David Ayer used for his 2012 crime film End of Watch.
The film introduces the audience to down-on-his-luck Louis Bloom as he is stealing scrap metal to sell at a junk yard. It is clear that Louis isn’t quite all there, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to make his life a success – even offering to work for free at the junk yard. On his way home, Louis witnesses a car wreck and discovers the world of freelance news – even asking veteran nightcrawler Joe Loder (Paxton) for a job.
After a quick trip to the pawn shop and buying what is needed for his new career, Louis hits the streets looking for crime and finds a local carjacking. His footage isn’t that great, but it gets him in the door with morning news director Nina (Rene Russo). She sees Louis as way to get her news ratings up thanks to his willingness to break the rules when shooting. Louis isn’t above entering homes, getting as close as possible to accident victims (who he is more interested in getting on camera than helping) and even beating the cops to the scene. Louis’ success with Nina affords him the luxury of hiring an assistant, Rick (Ahmed), who is willing to take the job for no money with promise of advancement in Louis’ company.
The movie then jumps to show Louis has found success with a new car, more police scanners and some leverage over Nina (even forcing her to sleep with him) thanks to his ability to get shots no one else can capture . Louis hits the jackpot when he arrives at a home invasion ahead of the cops and in time to film the shooters. He enters the house and films the aftermath of the shooting and leaves before the cops arrive. He then uses his graphic footage to leverage more power against Nina and holds back his footage of the shooters so he can film their capture at a later date.
Nightcrawler has some incredible twists and its ending will leave you begging for more. The film is powered by Gyllenhaal’s hypnotic performance and he truly deserved some award show recognition for his work as Louis. From the beginning it is clear there is something not quite likeable about Louis, but Gyllenhaal kept you dying to find out how the character’s story was going to end. Backed by strong performances by his supporting actors, Gyllenhaal has created a character that will keep you talking long after the end credits roll.
Nightcrawler looks and sounds great on Blu-ray. It comes loaded with a behind the scenes look at how the film was crafted and its journey to the screen.
Nightcrawler was a huge surprise for me. I went into the movie not expecting to enjoy it, and was hooked within minutes. The film’s strength comes from Gyllenhaal’s performance and the film’s glossy pseudo-documentary feel. It walks a fine line between drama and nail-biting thriller.