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REVIEW by Richard Rivera
Nightcrawler is a perfect film. Disturbing. Incisive. Disciplined. Nightcrawler opens with piercing haunting music that is as much a clarion call as a melody, that overlays stark marvelous nighttime cinematography and sustains an emotional tone.
Nightcrawler may have been inspired by the real-life newspaper photographer WeeGee, but it far exceeds listening to police-band radio and scooping news stories by showing us unsettling video, and the unethical practices that are accepted as normal during the hours of darkness.
From the first scene of Louis Bloom’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) stealing a chain link fence and winding up with the security guard’s expensive watch we begin to see the kind of person he is. Nightcrawler is a fascinating look at a hustler with high ambitions, a sociopath that latches onto a sure thing: the suffering of crime victims. Bloom is there with his video camera to record their pain and parade it on television news the following day. He is a driven go-getter who is determined to succeed no matter who gets sacrificed along the way.
Gyllenhall is a mesmerizing chameleon of an actor that embodies the commanding presence of Bloom, and continues to amaze from his prior performances in Donnie Darko, Source Code, and Zodiac.
Nightcrawler is not gruesome or gory. It's power comes from confident direction,
a revealing script, cinematography that enriches a solid story, and a riveting performance by Gyllenhaal as well as a perfect supporting cast that includes Renee Russo and Bill Paxton. The soundtrack by James Newton Howard is like fluorescent razors, incisive yet illuminating the film’s emotional pull.
Nightcrawler is a disturbing film that from the outset leaves you surprised at the audacity of the main character, Louis Bloom, and continues to shock. The shock is entirely relevant to the story and character. Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Bloom is one of the most memorable sociopaths in recent history. A sociopath whose focus is astounding, and there are many scenes that leave you marveling at the sheer audacity of the character created by first time director Dan Gilroy.
One of the most amazing aspects of the film is that although we get absolutely no backstory on Bloom, Gyllenhaal’s performance is so thorough that it is unnecessary. We understand the forces that shaped his character. But what makes Louis Bloom a spellbinding character is that his unethical behavior is understandably goal oriented in a success driven society. Nightcrawler is a one-finger salute against the status quo and Louis Bloom learns how to play the game against the system to earn his survival.
July 29, 2015
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