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Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton & Riz Ahmed
Welcome to my first movie review of 2016. First of many, no doubt!
A friend lent me this movie at the beginning of last month and it’s taken me till now to watch it, mainly because of the Christmas holidays and my time being taken up on my twelve Christmas movie reviews in twelve days (can I just quickly say thank you all for your support during that time, it really does mean a lot).
This year, I’m aiming to review more movies rather than just limiting myself to cinematic releases. I did some last year, but that fizzled out. If you have a request, please feel free to post your suggestions in the comments section below and I’ll do my level best to get round to it. Just don’t say Spice World or some dumb shit like that!
Jake Gyllenhaal is Louis Bloom, a down on his luck petty criminal who is desperate for work. Late one night, Louis comes across an automobile accident being filmed by an independent news photographer Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), Bloom actually believes that he’s find a job which he may be good at. He quickly arms himself with a police scanner and a video camera and he’s off to record anything from robberies to car accidents in order to make a quick buck. Aided by Nina Romina (Rene Russo), Louis dives into LA’s seedy underbelly for the most sensational news footage possible. All of his success stories pushes Louis closer to the edge to find more stories to record. It’s starting to get to the point where Louis is willing to do anything to get the visuals he wants from his crime stories.
Wow, what a great movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good, and I also wasn’t expecting to like such an unlikeable character in Louis Bloom.
Jake’s portrayal of Louis Bloom is exceptional; he really grabs hold of your attention with his performance. Bloom is ambitious to a fault and such an intelligent guy which will make you think why’s he doing all of this in the first place. Surely someone of his intellect shouldn’t be resorting to doing stuff like this? There’s this scene at the beginning of the film where he steals this bike and tries to sell it to a Pawn Shop by making it out to be this must have item when in fact it’s just a piece of shit bike. He’s got the reserve nature of Psycho’s Norman Bates and the charismatic charm and wit of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. In short, he’s driven.
I’ve also noticed that when Louis does something illegal (i.e. interfering with a crime scene) he always ties his hair into a ponytail. Is he schizophrenic? Is tying his hair his way of bringing out his negative side? I don’t know, but it does open the floor for debate, though.
That is why I think Bloom works well with Nina, a veteran TV News director with a real ruthless streak. Both of them have high ambitions, so that’s why they make a good team. The only difference is just how far they are willing to cross that fine line.
The intensity is insane. There this scene where Bloom enters a house after it was raided by these criminals and there’s all these dead bodies lying everywhere. He enters a child’s nursery and I was thinking are they really going to push the envelope so far to reveal a dead baby? Luckily there was no child around, but they really did crank up the intensity as the scene unfolded.
What makes Nightcrawler stand out from the crowd is just how unique it is. In this age of remakes, reboots, sequels, true stories and adaptations of other media, it’s refreshing to see something which is so original. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything else like Nightcrawler.
Rating: **** (Champion)