Movie Review: Nightcrawler
By Lucas Henley
“What will you do to get what you want?’’ is a question plagued with a variety of answers. For Lou Bloom, the answer is simple: whatever it takes.
This is just one of the many themes Nightcrawler utilizes. The film is not trying to show you a narrative as much as it is trying to invoke a feeling. That’s part of what makes it so great: the roller coaster of emotions is unique and fresh compared to the tired out clichés in Hollywood movies of recent. The atmosphere, camera work, and tone of the movie are fantastic. The unnerved feeling is done better in this film than in most horror movies.
Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a petty thief in Los Angeles who is hungry for something more. Bloom discovers the “Nightcrawlers” of the city. Freelance camera crews who record crimes and violent events to sell the tape to the highest bidding news channel. Bloom is fascinated with the job, and decides to try it himself. So he gets a camera and hires a partner (Riz Ahmed) and starts patrolling L.A.
The premise is great, and the writing and character development is top notch. Watching Bloom go from car crashes to homicide is a shift in tone, exemplified when Bloom stops worrying about gas money and instead worries about damaging his priceless paint job. And that’s not even scratching the surface when it comes to Nightcrawler’s engrossing characters.
I haven’t even mentioned the small but wonderful cast of brilliant actors who make their characters come to life with ease. Eric Lange does a great job at playing the cocky competition. Riz Ahmed is perfect as the inexperienced jumpy partner. And Rene Russo was made for the role of Nina, Bloom’s news accomplice. Then there is Gyllenhaal, whose performance suggests he’s a god among men in the acting world. His facial expressions are down pact, and his mannerisms show the maniacal nature lurking beneath the surface of Lou Bloom. Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds for the role to exhibit the hungry, survivalist nature of the character.
My only problem with the film would be the music. The score is awkwardly triumphant given the situations. It’s supposed to represent Bloom’s feelings during the scene but I think it detracts from the reality of the movie. It’s a minor problem, but a problem nonetheless.
Overall, I give the film a 5/5. When you consider the fact that this is a directional debut for Dan Gilroy, the movie becomes even more impressive. It is a clever film that does not overstay its welcome and has the potential to be a classic in the thriller genre. I definitely recommend it to any fan of good movies.