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When Lou Bloom, a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran.
Jake Gyllenhaal – Louis Bloom
Rene Russo – Nina
Riz Ahmed – Rick
Bill Paxton – Joe Loder
Ann Cusack – Linda
Kevin Rahm – Frank Kruse
As I sat watching Jake during this movie, I was frowning – yet smiling. The actor was nothing like I’ve seen before, bringing to the screen a character who is as sinister as he is intelligent. Lou spends his time putting people in their place with a hilariously honest attitude via sharp tongue, often rendering the people he meets speechless. Jake had the audience laughing out loud with his slick, dark humour – his style can’t be described in writing, you have to hear it to get the real feel.
His facial expressions throughout Nightcrawler were superb. The actor really stepped up his game, performing on all sorts of levels – one minute he’s flashing a wincing smile at his colleague, the next he’s snapped and suddenly through the dark night air you see a scary wide-eyed expression take form. Those bulging eyes are the stuff of animation as Jake portrays a passionate man on a mission. His character is a complete sociopath, a man who could change at any second and slide from relaxed into viciously nasty – and this added to the tense atmosphere on screen, not knowing when he was about to burst.
I’m not going to lie – I was entertained thr entire time, and this was all down to Mr Gyllenhaal for singlehandedly carrying the movie by providing non-stop tensity and twisted black comedy.
The plot is very simple: a career-obsessed man decides to take matters into his own hands when showing up at crime scenes to document them. Armed with nothing but a video camera, he drives around cities listening in to police radio broadcasts and makes a beeline for whichever report sounds the most exciting. Once there, Lou takes advantage of arriving before the cops and actually enters the scene of the crime in order to capture as much information on tape as possible. He then heads back to the TV news station he has favourited, and receives some amusing responses from the producers.
Renee Russo struts onto the screen as news station vamp Nina, and delivers a performance with just as much energy as Gyllenhaal – the pair of them on screen at the same time sparks a brilliant chemistry, especially when the issue of blackmail arrives and then their relationship becomes brilliantly tense in a ‘will she, won’t she’ style.
This movie is short but sharp. It opens, delivers its story, and ends. There are no drawn-out or tedious scenes as the action flows full swing. In fact, this is one of those movies which doesn’t pull any punches – it reminded me of Locke (Tom Hardy) where what’s supposed to happen happens, involving a very simple plot. Easy yet entertaining. This scores points from me – no groundbreaking idea, just an easy story but made entertaining by being played well.
Nightcrawler echoed certain elements of the creepy Robin Williams flick, One Hour Photo.
The sinister characteristics as that of Seymour in that film were displayed by Lou in this one.
A lonely man standing still staring into a mirror before smashing it, or even doing the ironing as he laughs heartily at what he’s watching on television – Jake certainly had a knack of making these everyday actions feel strange. And it was all down to his characterisation skills. His manic personality was brimming with intelligence; where else would you find a guy sprinting down a dark street in panic whilst quoting Health and Saftey rules to his assistant? These quirky moments had the audience laughing heartily, myself included. His incredibly intelligent and analytic view on life seemed insane but somehow proved useful when succeeding in his work goals. So imagine Seymour from One Hour Photo – but interacting with other people and not being as lonely and bingo – meet Lou. He’s a character all of his own.
Nightcrawler has to be watched to be understood.
It is a twisted blend of dark comedy and gritty drama that explores an entirely different angle on Jake Gyllenhaal’s skills. I’ve never seen anything like it from him, and I was quite impressed with his performance. And how he managed to get his tongue round the lines and dialogue he had to speak is anyone’s guess – there were moments where his character quoted paragraphs literally from business regulation manuals or books which had me staring at the screen, open-mouthed, smiling and frowning.
Nightcrawler is strange, but very entertaining. I wasn’t sure what to expect but ended up enjoying it. Slick and punchy, it delivers a simple story boosted along nicely by its lead actor’s faultless characterisation skills.
Sit back and enjoy the twisted ride.