Sunday, November 2, 2014

*NEW* Nightcrawler Review

Directed by Dan Gilroy.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Louis "Lou" Bloom, who has a great ambition to be a success, but is first seen pushing stolen construction merchandise.  He doesn't get much traction when looking for a job, until one day he discovers the world of freelance video journalism while stopped at the scene of a car accident.  So he gets himself a camcorder and a police radio scanner.

Lou learns that this works a bit like storm chasing.  In order to get the best footage of a crime scene, you have to race against not only police, but also rival freelancers.  A fast learner, Lou advances in this medium by selling his videos to a local news station director named Nina (Rene Russo).  Despite the more cautious attitudes of her crew, Nina senses a ratings opportunity in Lou's increasingly aggressive tactics, which include attempting to get the most graphic close-up images of crime and accident victims.  
Hiring an assistant, naive and money-desperate Rick (Riz Ahmed), Lou is in business.  As Lou and Nina enter into a dangerous pact, he profiting from her eagerness for better ratings, we begin to wonder just how far Lou is willing to go with his scheme.

Sensationalism in news has long been a topic of concern for people.  "Nightcrawler" uses this to its advantage by giving us a scenario where amoral people are willing to cross certain lines to get the most attention-grabbing headlines, no matter the consequence.  Gyllenhaal is superb at presenting Lou as a borderline psychotic without ever seeming to have evil motives.  It's quite a trick.  Rene Russo has her best role in years, playing a woman who is nearly as amoral as Lou but for different reasons.  They need each other to survive this seedy underworld of nightcrawling journalism.  This is one of the best films of the year.

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