Film Review – Nightcrawler (2014)

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Title: Nightcrawler (2014)

Director: Dan Gilroy (feature debut)

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton

Plot: Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal), a man who wants success more than anything else, finds himself in the unforgiving world of crime journalism in L.A, a world that takes no prisoners. Bloom quickly finds a knack for this grisly trade and when a partnership with TV news director Nina (Russo) opens up, so does Bloom’s endless mind for ideas and business growth.

“What if my problem wasn’t that I don’t understand people, but that I don’t like them?”

Review by Eddie on 16/01/2015

Not as though we needed any more evidence, but if there was any doubt about the talents of Jake Gyllenhaal then let Nightcrawler be the final word in the statement that he is one of the most impressive actors  working today, as his creation of Louis Bloom is a creation for the ages in screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s impressive feature debut that has some harsh points to make about today’s modern day media techniques and makes them with a modern day Travis Bickle like central figure.

While the city of Los Angeles is impressively captured here, a night time lit city of crime and desperate figures, while James Newton Howard’s subtle yet effective score plays out as proceedings grow ever darker and while Gilroy’s smart direction and unique script takes shape there is nothing that compares to Bloom. A haunted eyed loner who wants nothing more than success, no matter the cost, is a vile yet undeniably watchable figure that prowls on anything or anyone as long as he can achieve his questionable goals. From the moment we first meet Bloom in a restricted zone at a city train track through to the tense and white knuckle finale, Bloom is the cold blooded beating heart of the film and his rise from wannabe crime videographer through to aspiring businessman is one that will keep you well and truly glued to your seat even if proceedings sometimes take a turn for the unbelievable a little to often. Gyllenhaal deserves plaudits for sinking completely into Bloom, from his gaunt physical appearance, his empty yet razor sharp eyes and his general characteristic tics, this really is a full bodied performance that makes Gilroy’s film more than the sum of its parts.

While everything is professionally done in a production sense, Nightcrawler’s greatest weakness is strangely found within it’s narrative arc. Bloom’s rise up the ranks of the local TV station is worryingly quick, his dealings with Rene Russo’s desperate news station head Nina doesn’t always ring true, Bloom failing to be penalised for obvious crime scene breaches make you scratch your head and Bloom’s rivalry with Bill Paxton’s industry veteran Joe takes a far fetched and in the end underplayed turn that feels like it belongs to another movie. It’s a shame that so many elements of Bloom’s story feel to far flung from reality, as when Nightcrawler strikes a believable cord it’s a striking indictment of the modern day media circus and an often hugely original big screen picture.

While not all elements ring true in this impressive feature, Nightcrawler is a great debut by Dan Gilroy. There’s yet another award calibre showcase performance by the increasingly great Gyllenhaal and the journey into the mind of a man so concerned with his goal no matter the obstacles that may hamper his cause is an entertaining one. Nightcrawler is a thriller of the highest order and a depraved tale set in the city of Angels that deserves to be seen.

4 abnormal job interviews out of 5

 

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28 responses to “Film Review – Nightcrawler (2014)

    • Just saw that mate, very tough call that one! I would suggest only reason for it is because that category was so well contested although surely Carrell’s role is more a supporting turn than lead?
      E

      • Carrell was definitely a supporting actor, but I’m guessing they’re looking at it from the “Foxcatcher is a story about DuPont” rather than the Schultz brothers, even its wrong.

        The noms – beside Jake’s snub – is all baffling at best. Though I didn’t praise Interstellar, it certainly deserved more noms than American Sniper. AS was rather average outside Cooper’s performance; its the most average out of every biopic released this awards season. This isn’t even attributing Ralph Fiennes and David Oyelowo’s snubs. The Oscars this year is just… weird.

      • I must say the overwhelming love for Budapest struck me as a massive surprise. It’s an enjoyable film but 9 nominations worthy is a little rich. I to think Interstellar deserved some more recognition – if only for the technical side. Must say I did laugh a little inside when the Lego Movie was snubbed in animation.
        E

  1. Good review Eddie. Gyllenhaal is incredibly creepy here and makes this movie work more than it ought to. Shame he got dissed by the Academy. Can’t say I’m too surprised, however.

  2. I liked Nightcrawler a bit better than you, but I agree that Jake was brilliant. I also think he should have been in the Oscar shortlist. I’d have bumped Bradley Cooper for him. I’d also have liked to see Ralph Fiennes in the shortlist, but I’m not sure who’d have had to make way!! But ultimately – much though I’d like to see a Brit win – I think Steve Carrell probably deserves it. I thought he was phenomenal.

    • Can’t wait to see Foxcatcher mate, still a little while off an Australian release. I think Keaton must be the sure fire winner in the category though despite myself having yet to see Birdman. Cooper seems to be a real golden child these days.
      E

  3. I agree with pretty much everything in this review. It’s rare that I dislike a character so much, but don’t want to stop watching them at the same time. Louis was disgusting and despicable in the most interesting way possible.

    • He really was something else ha! You could tell Jake was just having a ball playing him and he really ran with the character. Some of his conversations with others in the film were truly cringe worthy and goose-bump inducing.
      E

  4. “What if my problem wasn’t that I don’t understand people, but that I don’t like them?”

    Haha, hmmm sounds like my kind of movie when I’m in my Travis Bickle-kind of mood 😀 I’ll have to catch this is on Blu-Ray in a few weeks then.

  5. Loved this film so much! Maybe not the “best”, but my favourite performance of the year with Jake Gyllenhaal!

  6. Best performance I saw last year. Hes scarily good and realistic, not a cartoon character. Plus, the story portrays something that is bizarrely real. Good review.

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