Wow…what a scathing satire Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler would’ve been in say…1994 or 1995 on the heels of the OJ Simpson “White Bronco Chase” that was ushering in a new age of television reporting. What a horrific view of what was to come…a prescient prediction of how bad it could get (and did get) if we continued down that road. Instead, it’s 2014, and Nightcrawler crashes into screens, oddly anachronistic, taking place in some bizarro-world where local nightly news still matters and no one seems to be aware of YouTube and social media. Honestly, who was this film made for? Scared senior citizens without computers who still watch the nightly news?
Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man with no back story who claims to have learned everything on the internet (this, along with his use of the GPS on his phone are the only things that hint at this being a present-day set story), happens by accident upon an accident late one night on the LA streets and is mesmerized by the free-lance film crew (headed by Bill Paxton) capturing video they plan to sell to Channel 6 (whose cool red-lit antenna atop their studios evokes 666…wow…subtle). Very quickly Lou applies all of that self-help, business 101, go-getter bullshit he read on the internet and begins to crawl the nights searching for anything that bleeds to sell to the Channel 6 news director (Rene Russo). It’s not long before things escalate and Lou begins to take drastic measures, where he skirts the law and common decency to turn the stories and events he captures into more sensationalistic leads.
Jake Gyllenhaal, thankfully, takes full control of the film. His performance is what makes Nightcrawler worth watching. Continue reading