“The closer you look… the darker it gets.”
I have to say, for me personally, this was one of cinema’s highlights last year and it certainly lived up to all i thought it was going to be. Well, almost….
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a bit of a nobody; a loner with obsessive tendencies. Someone who will happily walk over a corpse if it means he’ll get to what he wants.
The film opens with Lou Bloom attempting to find a job in construction, but after refusal, heads on out into the night frustrated and looking for something, anything, better to come his way. Driving on the freeway he inadvertently stumbles across a car accident where his attention is drawn, not to the accident, but indeed to camera man Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) who is by chance on scene filming the carnage. And it is here his obsession starts.
After being refused by Joe Loder to give him a job as an assistant, Lou Bloom realises that he doesn’t need help. In fact all he needs is a camera and to be at the right place at the right time to capture life’s unfortunate events and to sell the footage to the highest bidder. In steps Rene Russo, Nina Romina, who is the morning news director for one of larger tv networks. She agrees to buy his footage and encourages him to continue his work and promises more exposure and more money within the tv network.
As Lou Bloom’s obsession becomes more controlling of his personality he realises that to be able to get the best out of every unpleasant event, he needs a second pair of hands. This unwitting character is Rick Carey( Riz Ahmed) who, like Lou, is down on his luck and looking for any work that will pay and is happy not to ask too many questions. His weak character plays right into Lou’s hands and Lou knows now he can push the limit of acceptability with regards to what and more importantly, how, he films each event. And this is where I shall leave the plot so as not to spoil anything.
Nightcrawler is a clever mix of modern with retro, kind of in the same vein as Drive with Ryan Gosling. Its story of freelance camera men being “ambulance chasers” is what works so well in giving it that retro feel. It puts you back in a mind-set before the likes of Facebook and Twitter and the 24 hours a day news channels. That rush to get to the exciting story before anyone else and to show it to the world as “yours” must have been something very unique and special for those involved and which, for me, feels well captured here.
I have to admit that there were one or two little things that popped up where I thought… “hmmmm would that really happen…?!?” But I forgave it that because the rest of the film was so well-balanced and written to the point where later in the film I actually gasped in shock out loud. So to Dan Gilroy on his writing and directorial debut, I say “Bravo!”
So, simply put, I highly recommend Nightcrawler. In fact, thinking about it, I could have just said that at the beginning..
Reviewed by Ben