Nightcrawler is a movie that I had wanted to see for a while, seeing glowing reviews online and with the premise sounding pretty intriguing, as well as it starring Jake Gylenhaal, one of my favourite actors out there. And it didn’t disappoint, though it felt a bit aimless at times and I’m not exactly sure what the message of the film is, if there even is a message at all, but it does work as a contained story, sort of.
It’s an interesting character study I suppose, delving into the depravity and depths that some people are willing to go to, to enveloping themselves in a craft as they try to perfect it, in this case Lou Bloom, a very one track minded and smart individual. He wants to break into video news production and takes a hands on approach, fascinated by the profession of ‘Nightcrawling’, as he encounters people filming tragic events that happen in Los Angeles, said people sell their film to news channels and get paid, making a living in rather morbid fashion.
Now right off the bat, you know something isn’t quite there with Lou if he sees this as a viable career and he does suck at it at first but works his way up, buying a police scanner to monitor their radios, starting off nightcrawling as an amateur and missing events but getting better as times goes on. And eventually building a relationship with Nina, a high ranking producer at a local TV news channel. Lou isn’t satisfied with that though, he invents a video news production company and hires an intern to help him out with his Nightcrawling, their relationship is clearly unbalanced and represents Lous’ lack of empathy of others, he views people as simply tools to get what he wants.
Lous’ obsession with Nightcrawling only gets worse and he starts get delusions of grandeur, getting to fresh crime scenes for good shots and demanding more and more money for his videos. Even getting into a house just broken into to film the bodies of a family, all the while not seeming to care much about Rick or any of the people he’s filming, he’s so focused on achieving success in his field that he completely ignores the tragedy of the events he films which in itself is pretty creepy.
This film is sort of a character study into the mind of someone that would do this type of job (which is real apparently) but Lou Bloom is oddly one dimensional, we don’t see him progress or change in any way as a character and that was a missed trick for the film in my opinion. No, Lou didn’t have to do a 180 and completely change his mind but seeing him by the end, exactly the same and just trucking just felt odd, if you finished watching the film and thought to yourself “what was the point of this film?” I agree with you, I did too.
I suppose the ending sort of undermined the whole film, we see Lou get away with what he did in the end, even though he set up the situation near the end which ended up in 2 cops being shot as well as the criminals… also deceiving Rick so he gets shot, making something for himself to film. He’s still completely unrepentant and goes about nightcrawling again. And well… it’s an ending, not exactly a satisfying or good one but an ending, that aside the film itself is fairly griping, tense and worth watching for sure, especially if you’re not too put off by dark, morbid subject material like this. Glyenhaal gives a fantastic performance in it though, bringing life to a mostly sociopathic, one note character, who was interesting but not explored enough, what about Lous’ backstory? Friends, family?
. It has some great performances, Gylenhaal especially
. The film is gripping and suspenseful all the way through, very tense at points
. Ending is a bit unbelievable, anti-climactic