Nightcrawler, not to be confused with a certain X-Men who is yet to get his own movie (not that he should), is the answer to a question you’ve probably never asked:
What happens when a criminal becomes a journalist?
After all, plenty of people already consider the media to be run by criminals. Nightcrawler expands that concept to believable, and unforgettable lengths.
The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a driven sociopath who has one basic goal. He wants to make money (illegally if he has to) by doing something he loves. The problem is that when he wants something, he’ll do anything to get it. At his core, he’s ultimately a thief of both possessions and even ideas.
His cold, calculating mind is offset by a nearly convincing extraversion. He smiles as he delivers the lines of dialogue that haunt the audience as his story unfolds. The first act expertly introduces us to Bloom by not just showing that he’s a criminal. He proves to us that he’s a sociopath, for reasons that get into spoiler territory.
Ultimately, his actions lead to business success as a nightcrawler (an offhand term for freelancers who record video from crime scenes late at night). The movie is shot almost entirely from his perspective as we watch him negotiate and force himself into the world of journalism with his suspiciously caught video of violent crimes that cater to a specific audience. You can probably see where this is going, and it doesn’t take much to acknowledge the rampant nods that this is also a satire of modern media.
Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, brother of Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Nightcrawler is an intense, thrilling movie with a dark sense of humor, to the point where you may laugh at just how twisted it frames Bloom up to the “critical moment.” It warranted more laughs from the audience than some comedies I’ve seen.
I wouldn’t say it’s Gyllenhaal’s best performance ever, but it’s certainly his most memorable in my opinion. Like Matthew McConaughey, he’s had a pretty epic string of great movies these past few years. And Nightcrawler is certainly a highlight.
Definitely worth watching.
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