Director: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Studio: Open Road Films
Rated: R for violence including graphic images, and for language
Running time: 117 minutes
Nightcrawler” may not feature any vengeful ghosts, bloodthirsty demons or chainsaw-wielding psychos, but that doesn’t mean writer-director Dan Gilroy’s take on the cutthroat business of local TV news isn’t suitably creepy for a Halloween release.
According to movie critics, the nocturnal drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a freelance videographer with a missing conscience makes for a stylish, well-acted chiller.
Audiences can take Nightcrawler for what it appears to be on its surface, the story of said loner, thief and loser for what it appears to be on its surface. Or they can scratch a little deeper and find a movie that riffs on the state of media in this country along with taking its share of shots at a certain political mindset in subtle ways.
The former provides tremendous entertainment. The latter makes the viewer think. Put them together and Dan Gilroy, the film’s writer who is also making his directorial debut, creates an imminently enjoyable cinematic experience.
Gyllenhaal stars as Louis Bloom, a petty thief who plies his trade processed metals [think copper pipes] from buildings. For someone who appears so slight and so very wimpy, he proves ruthless even in that trade.
Jake Gyllenhaal brings his usual talents to the role of Lou, presenting a man that is to be feared in how fast he thinks, how far he wants to go, and how he plans to get there. Lou is downright terrifying when he’s alone, as the darkness overwhelms him and the audience gets to witness that Lou is more than he shows to the public. When he’s partnered on-screen with Rick (Riz Ahmed), his navigator and co-photographer, or even Nina (Rene Russo), the aging news director at a TV station who desperately needs the footage that Lou provides, Gyllenhaal proves even more frightening is how he commands these people to bend to his whims.
While not a perfect film, Nightcrawler shines the light on the dark side of how news is presented to us, especially in the 24-hour news cycle. We watch at Lou begins to go to some pretty terrible depths to get his story, and his footage, and anyone that stands in his way be damned. Lou Bloom is a self-motivated go-getter and he’s ready to start work right now. Just watch your back, or you may become the story.
Nightcrawler is rated R and is in theaters now.