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Published on November 4th, 2014 | by Allan Brown

10

Nightcrawler Review

 

Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)nightcrawler-2014-film-poster-movie-review-world

Running Time: 117 mins

Rating: 15

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

 

 

 

Movie Review World

Screenwriter Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy) smashes his directorial début in what could be the most entertaining and utterly unnerving thrillers of the year.

gyllenhaal-and-Riz-Ahmed-in-nightcrawler. movie-review-worldWhen Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal)  – a man who borders the fine line between driven and desperate – chances upon a high speed traffic accident, he bears witness to the underbelly of TV journalism, commonly known as Nightcrawler’s.  These self-appointed, crime scene camera operators prowl the streets at night listening to police scanners for the next big hit, fatal car crash or murder in the white picket fenced suburbs of the city.  The bigger the tragedy and more graphic the footage, the larger the pay-cheque – “If it bleeds, it leads”.

Transfixed and determined for success, it isn’t long before as Bloom bags his first real horror footage. Eager for payment, he seeks out Nina Romina (Rene Russo), a struggling news producer for a local TV station whose career hinges solely on viewer ratings.  Romina together with Bloom’s newly appointed (and financially desperate) intern; Rick (Riz Ahmed), quickly find themselves part of Bloom’s vehicle for success, as well as a living nightmare.

Screenwriter Dan Gilroy smashes his directorial début in what could be the most entertaining and utterly unnerving thrillers of the year.

Dan Gilroy not only paints Lou Bloom as a vampire of the night, skulking in the shadows, feeding on society’s grief and misfortune, but also as a product of today’s capitalist attitudes, and of course the great American Dream. He is a man determined to achieve success by any means necessary, including any ethical, moral or even legal boundaries that stand in his way.  Gilroy, in essence, is saying, we have all played a part in the creation of Bloom. From the news cast who demand and air the footage, to the people at home who watch it. The branches of the ethical rights and wrongs in question extend from the root to the tip, and we as a society all play a part in its creation and continued growth.

rene russo and jake gyllenhaal in the film nightcrawler. movie-review-worldSomewhere between Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) and Rupert Pupkin (King of Comedy) lies Lou Bloom, and Jake Gyllenhaal not only owns the role, but truly embodies the character in what is undeniably, a career defining performance.

It could be argued that because Bloom is a completely uncompromising and unsympathetic lead from beginning to end, devoid of any character arc, external conflict or redeemable quality, that this may isolate the audience from connecting and in turn cause them to lose interest along the way.  But, like Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) before him, we watch the cold and calculated menace that is Bloom from the side-lines, observing and scrutinising his motivations from the interactions of the people around him, namely Nina Romina (Rene Russo) and Rick (Riz Ahmed). These characters are the key to the kingdom and our access to Bloom’s psyche.

The branches of the ethical rights and wrongs in question extend from the root to the tip, and we as a society all play a part in its creation and continued growth.

The supporting cast excel like never before and dynamics of each character interaction with Bloom is utterly compelling to watch. Dan Gilroy catches every nuance of fragility and confidence in each performance, helping us understanding each characters place and tone in the narrative perfectly, and it’s utterly enthralling to watch.

Romina and Bloom’s initial jousting is also a delight. Like an intense game of chess, watching these two powerful characters suss each other out is both unnerving and electric, every single time and Russo plays it to perfection. It is truly a stunning performance.  The same can be said for Riz Ahmed who offers a certain fragility and underlying anxiety to his role, which again in turn, grants us further access to understanding the cold and calculated mind of Lou Bloom.

Nightcrawler Review Allan Brown

Verdict

Summary: Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler is a total triumph. It's slick, intelligent and suitably unnerving, and Gyllenhaal relishes every second in what is one truly astonishing performance.

4


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About the Author

Despite my 9-5 being consumed by the daily duties of an Electrician, Movie Review World serves as a platform for me to share my thoughts, explorations and reflections on one of my biggest passions, film.



10 Responses to Nightcrawler Review

  1. grantkbaird says:

    Great review. I know u never do a .5 on your overall scores but you could break the mould here. Gyllenhaal is outstanding in the role. An early Oscar contender perhaps?

    • Allan Brown says:

      Thanks Grant. Haha, Sorry, but I have to correct you on that one. I have scored many films with 5 stars. If you highlight the REVIEW tab at the top of the page, you will be able select all the 5 star films I have rated over the years.

      I would like to think Gyllenhaal will get a mention at next years Oscars. God knows he bloody deserves it.

      • grantkbaird says:

        Aah yes Allan, I am fully aware of your 5 star reviews for Skyfall and the like. What I was thinking of was a point 5 score. As in something just shy of perfect 4.5 or something on the cusp of awful 0.5..

        Looking forward to your thoughts on interstellar. Varying reviews so far. A good one from the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/nov/05/interstellar-review-christopher-nolan-matthew-mcconaughey?CMP=twt_gu

        • Allan Brown says:

          Ah, I’m with you now. Unfortunately Movie Review World see’s half stars as a sign of weakness. 😛

          I’m very much looking forward to Interstellar on the big screen. In fact, I’ve underplayed that, I cant bloody wait 🙂 Trying hard to avoid all press on the film until I have witnessed for myself so I will read the Guardians review after. Cheers 🙂

  2. Mark Walker says:

    Fine work sir. I’m desperate to see this one and I’ve lost count the amount of times that I’ve heard that it could be Gyllenhaal’s best performance yet. That’s saying something.

    • Allan Brown says:

      He buddy, long time. Gotta say, I think it could well be his best performance and like you say, that saying something. I find Gyllenhaal increasingly daring in every performance he pursues, and I would go as far to say, that I haven’t found him less than compelling (minus one or two hollywood affairs) since Darko. Go see it soon as I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  3. Tyson Carter says:

    Howdy doody

    Im skimming all reviews of this as I cant wait to see it, just like most films I have to wait for the blu ray to come out. Or go to the cinema alone on my day off but it’s an hour away and a hassle………

    Good score though, thought you might have given it the perfect score 🙂

    • Allan Brown says:

      Oh, to have the whole cinema to yourself sounds like the way forward. I find myself increasingly annoyed with other peoples lack of cinema etiquette during a screening, it drives me crazy and really spoils the experience. Rant Over 🙂

      No not a perfect score for Nightcrawler, but hey, it wasn’t far off. Gyllenhaal is fast becoming one of my favourite actors and this performance is a blinder!

      Thanks for stopping by buddy.

      • Tyson Carter says:

        Hate people in cinemas, ruins the films for me as I get so would up with people grazing popcorn and talking. I shout at them whilst my wife promises never to take me again.

        Loved Prisoners & Zodiac, he is just so damn watchable, even when he’s freakily skinny.

  4. Lovely review! Solid film although I think my expectations were a little too high. That shot of gyllenhaal when that guy was being carried into the ambulance was horrifying! Can you imagine what he was like as a child? I was really interested how he stirred the conversation away from where he grew up during that dinner scene.

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