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Nightcrawler – Review


Release Date: 31st October 2014 [USA]
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal - Rene Russo - Bill Paxton



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4 total ratings


Posted December 6, 2014 by

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Nightcrawler Review:

I always find interesting to watch someone’s first movie in theaters, when you got the chance : I had the same opportunity, for example, in 2004 with Garden state, Zach Braff’s first movie, with a tremendous cast. Well, you may be thinking that, unlike Dan Gilroy, Zach Braff was famous before Garden State, and he’s not to be remembered for that particular movie. Yet, Garden State was for me the opportunity to witness the sensitivity of the director and human being that Braff is. Coming from a family of movie scripts (at least his father and his two brothers were involved in scripting and/or directing movies), Dan Gilroy might have some interesting things to say and show to his audience. Here enters “Nightcrawler”, with, like Garden State, a very interesting cast that first movies aren’t used to.

Jake Gyllenhall (“Donnie Darko”, “Zodiac”, “Brothers”, and the most excellent “Enemy”) is Lou Bloom, a petty thief with eager for more in his life than just stealing copper wire and selling it back for a few bucks. He knows he’s smart : he even educated himself through the Internet, took business classes and all, with eyes on the prize. Yet he didn’t know what the prize was, until one night, out of boredom, driving in the middle of the night, he drove across a car wreckage with severe casualty. Out of the blue came two cameramen, shooting the scene in front of him, bragging about all the cash they could make out of it. A couple of questions later, Lou decides to use his lasts dollars on a camera and a police scanner, to hunt out any sordid and graphic story his camera could lay sight upon, and sell the videos to the local news channel for their morning report.

Lou manages to sell his first piece to Nina (Rene Russo, from “Lethal Weapon”, “Thomas Crown”, “Thor”), the head of the morning flash news for KWLA-6 Channel : she grants him with high congratulations on his work and acknowledges his ability to get close to the topic. Along with the paycheck, she eventually gives him some piece of advice : “give me some graphic stuff, crime related with white rich victims or at least Black or Latinos perpetrators” which gives us the tone of a certain type of media we are used to… Conscious of the competition’s will to be “first on site” in order to be “first to sell”, Lou decides to hire Rick (Riz Ahmed from “The Dead Set” series, “Centurion”, “Four Lions” (which I highly recommend to all of black humor fans !)) to be his co-driver : as soon as the police scan gives an address for an interesting enough topic, Rick has to give Lou directions to be there as fast as possible.

And I will let everyone go and discover the rest of the movie for themselves. I don’t think the movie was made only to criticize this voyeur side of the medias, who would do anything to increase their audience share any way they can. Well, it is a little bit about that, but I felt it was more about the limits you are willing to overstep, and for what reasons. And Lou, as the sociopathic character that he is, has no bound to overstep moral limits to go where he wants.

Needless to say, Jake Gyllenhaal was the perfect fit to impersonate Lou : emotionless expressions and way to speak, loneliness yet craziness in the eyes, doggedness… the kind of performance that definitely should open Gyllenhaal some doors to the Academy Awards. Too bad the story was, sort of speak, too easy on him. I can’t go further on the idea without spoiling the end of the film but I can’t understand why Dan Gilroy, who was helped on the process by his brothers Tony and John, choose to oversimplify the story at the point it would become unrealistic, when the purpose of the film is to make viewer think about some real aspects of the media… Fortunately enough, the direction and the performances of the film tends to hide a little bit this aspect.

So, can we consider a moral thing to direct a film with no morality in it ? It is the very question asked here : do we have to show the truth, even if it hurts some people’s privacy, and if it is a mean for us to earn more money, more fame ? My guess is, with such a subject of debate, Dan Gilroy clearly did found a way to make room for himself in the cinema business, and “Nightcrawler” will not be the last that we will hear from him, nor from Jake Gyllenhaal.


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Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 15.21.38

Theo Tessa
Freelance Contributor


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