Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut is a good one. With already a healthy amount of screenwriting experience (The Fall, Real Steel, and The Bourne Legacy) Gilroy decided to step behind the camera as well this time to deliver a nail-biting thriller with a creepy, creepy protagonist.
Nightcrawler (rated R) follows Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a thief and sociopath as he discovers the world of freelance news photography. These guys are similar to paparazzi but they are more interested in car crashes, house burglaries, murders. “If it bleeds, it leads,” Bill Paxton’s character Joe Loder tells him. Soon Bloom is caught up in the fast paced lifestyle and realizes he’s actually pretty good at it. But that’s because he doesn’t have a conscious.
Bloom will do whatever it takes to get the video he needs. The better the video, the better the paycheck. Eventually he strikes up a working relationship with the fictional KWLA 6 news channel and their news director Nina, played by Rene Russo.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays this character to near perfection. He’s a horrible human being but with a hint of charm. Meeting him once, you might think he’s a good guy. Meeting him again, you’d think there’s something slightly off about him. After that, you’d realize he’s nutso. And we, as the audience, get to see him in public and in private and that’s scary.
Nightcrawler is a slow-paced thriller with an exciting climax that shows off the beauty (and the craziness) of Los Angeles at night. I can’t help but also point out that I was an extra in this film. It was a while ago when I had long hair but it was fun to see Gyllenhaal and Russo at work. If you know where to look you just might spot me in more than one spot.
I give Nightcrawler an A-