SYNOPSIS: NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling -- where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.
REVIEW: Writer and Director Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy, 2012) in his directorial debut (believe it or not), does an excellent job of bringing us this modern tale of the twisted values of the American Dream. It is disturbing, powerful, important and darkly funny: Primarily about how far people are willing to go to achieve their goals when morality and decency are treated as obstacles rather than the foundation of society, as we know it.
Arguably Nightcrawler could be labelled “a sleeper hit,” not because of how it sneaks up on viewers (which is what it does), but more from how it doesn’t give away very much in its current marketing campaign. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to predict how this flick will play out from scene to scene because of the difficulty in reading the mean character’s modus operandi. It keeps one second guessing everything one might conclude about the strangeness and peculiarity of the main character.
From a relatively passive start it unfolds into a morbid and wickedly funny satire on journalism and the current disposition of 24 hour news media, mixed with the job market and the self-help culture. It is sporadically nasty in some respects, funny in strange ways, but still pretty much a tribute to the despicable and a celebration of the cut throat entertainment we like to call “the news.” We all know that local news is ghoulish and appeals to our worse desires. Skillfully, Gilroy hasn’t just created a searing reminder of a sickness we allow to persist through our own televisions; he has also made a disturbing observation on ways in which we as viewers become a part of the cycle madness of “Breaking News.”
Overall, it is simply a fantastic feature; what seems to be a career best performance from the talented Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy, 2013). He delivers an extraordinarily believable performance among an equally capable cast and with Gilroy’s writing and direction front and center in every scene. One will be hard pressed to believe this is his first directorial effort. It is an amazing film, plain and simple...an A+ work of art by all. It had me gasping, laughing, flinching, and squirming for a multitude of reasons. One would be doing oneself a complete disservice to miss it. Hence, four out of five stars is the least this flick deserves and I would recommend viewing in the theater environment with the popcorn in tow.
By Movi-Man Stan
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