NIGHTCRAWLER

★★★

Dir: Dan Gilroy

(2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal‘s sunken glimmering eyes may be the most disturbing image you’ll take away from Dan Gilroy‘s excellently shady L.A thriller but behind them and the film is a beautifully satirical look at the vulture like nature of news broadcasting and even our own obsession/repulsion to video images. Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a down an outer a la Paul Schrader, who stumbles onto career to match his sociopathic nature, recording murders, car accidents and crimes of the night for a local news broadcast.

Very funny, incredibly bleak and sharply acted Nightcrawler is a long hard stare at what it means to be an entrepreneur in a world where “self-made” professionals are surfacing day by day. The changes in economic climate and topical unemployment themes are delicately handled, they lurk in the shadows as they do for the lucky ones, letting the film play out in a dizzying noir infused ride along. If there’s one character who we can relate to it’s the brilliant turn by Riz Ahmed; Lou’s intern and compass (both morally and physically) who struggles with his part in the business but as things progress Lou’s passenger becomes more than a conduit.

Brilliant support from Rene Russo as the feisty network producer, hungry for Lou’s blood and gore footage; “Think of what we do as a woman running, screaming, down the street with her throat cut.” Lou gets it of course and the picture is completely his with Gyllenhaal putting in an intelligent, nervy, unsettling career best performance. Gilroy, against the mentality he’s portraying, leaves just the right amount out of Nightcrawler to make it a wonderful first time watch, thrilling and direct till the last frame; Sex and violence is largely left offscreen but the lack of apathy or empathy in Lou’s shimmering eyes is far, far more shocking.

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