Nightcrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal surpasses Christian Bale


Nightcrawler (US/2014)

UK Release by Entertainment One

Directed by Dan Gilroy

Brief Synopsis: A ruthless and determined man, desperate for work, breaks into crime journalism in the underbelly of Los Angeles and doesn’t take a moment to look back. 

Jake Gyllenhaal creates a growing stream of electricity inside his ferocious mind games in what may just be the most interesting character portrait since Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) discovers a career that indulges his reckless bravery and borderline behaviours. The role also allows for him to devise his own system or morality and leadership that give the viewer a defined insight. Although these behaviours are frankly perverse and officious, we can certainly admire Lou’s intuitive strategies and determination for success. Much of what is spoken by him uncovers the harsh truths of a moronic, turbulent and media fuelled society; the society that pervades us today. The films ideology touches very close to home.

Dan Gilroy allows his direction to take us right into the heart of Los Angeles and its sorrow underbelly. If you didn’t know your way around LA before watching this film, you might now! Lou is in pursuit of the city; we are on the receiving end of police transmissions and there is barely a moment when the siren doesn’t call. The activity, or rather job title, is known as ‘nightcrawling’. It involves capturing, quite literally, the most disturbing video footage possible from homicidal related crime scenes. The reward is dirty, daring, but legal, cash from the news broadcasters. It is competitive and not a comfortable ride, and Gilroy is positive that we experience every up and down of Lou’s journey up the career ladder. Although, we don’t just climb the career ladder, we jump inside Lou’s mind and this is certainly a far deeper trench to explore.

Nightcrawler is innovative because it takes a simple direction and still manages to craft its material with honesty and sincerity. The material is wholly unique to the job, although, it is nothing far from what we see on our own TV screens. We have become desensitised drama gobblers and the trouble is that we may forget how the footage came to be; it is expected and immediately presented to us. Though, the fact is that someone shot it and that someone could be Lou. That exposure of the man behind the lens and the psychological depth achieved is what makes this film oh so wonderfully powerful and self-indulgent.

5/5 stars


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