“Nightcrawler” is nothing short of a revelation in filmmaking. It features a powerhouse performance by Jake Gyllenhaal and contains characters and an atmosphere that completely is in service to its story. I think if Michael Mann had made either “Broadcast News” or “Network,” this is probably what it would look like.
Before trailer: So, ready to prowl the night?
After trailer: Well, as a great musical artist once said, “I love L.A.!”
Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man living in Los Angeles determined to do something great with his life. His motto is “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket.”
After a few unsuccessful attempts, Bloom stumbles upon the fascinating world of nighttime journalism by trying to cover all the latest headlines ranging from car accidents to deadly homicides.
Rene Russo costars as a news director who watches some of Bloom’s activities and immediately hires him to go out and film more. He also gets help with his nocturnal pursuits from his new assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed). Bill Paxton plays a rival reporter who tells him that he is wasting his time with the channel he’s at and tries to convince Bloom to join his team.
As the incidents progress, Bloom becomes increasingly manic and develops a psychosis that borders on insanity. He is willing to sensationalize each story to help further his career.
The film’s driving force is Gyllenhaal himself. He creates a character that is always on the edge of becoming a sociopath while delivering riveting, albeit morally ambiguous, monologues that seem justifiable only to him. When the Oscar nominations are announced next year, I’m hoping his name gets called.
In addition to Gyllenhaal’s amazing work, there are great performances throughout by the electric cast, all of whom deserve equal praise. The writing is first-rate, the directing is spellbinding and the technical elements of the production also are hypnotic and filled with tension. This is one of the year’s greatest cinematic achievements.
Rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.