Movie Review: Nightcrawler


Nightcrawler looked to be an intriguing premise from its trailer, but it turned out to be maybe the best movie I've seen in quite some time, largely thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in it. This is perhaps the first time I've seen him play a creepy and dislikeable character, and, surprisingly, he excels at it.

Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) lives in a tiny apartment in the L.A. area, and is in need of money. He "collects" (aka steals) scrap metal and other parts to sell to junkyard owners, and anything else valuable he comes across. One night, however, he drives by a fiery traffic accident, and sees freelance video people taking videos of it, which they later plan to sell to the news networks. Louis starts doing this as well, and eventually hires an assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed), originally as an "intern" - Rick gets paid $30 per night to help navigate for Louis. As time goes on, Louis gets better and better at being a "nightcrawler" - and also more cocky.

If Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't get an Oscar nomination (or at least a Golden Globes nomination) for this role, I will be shocked. I've seen him play "the cute guy" (Prince of Persia) and other dramatic roles (Source Code), but this is the first time I've seen him play a character this odd, who ends up being truly repulsive in his actions. Although he hasn't been "formally educated," as he tells the TV producer Nina (Rene Russo), he has a penchant for learning, and studies business and other topics on the internet. His character does and says things that are pretty awful, and he pulls it off; the movie even ends up making him look less attractive, with longer hair and bulging eyes throughout most of the film.

Yes, definitely see this movie. It's hard to tear yourself away from the screen, and Gyllenhaal, Russo, and the supporting cast make a great team, though it's definitely Gyllenhaal that steals the show. The film - as does Gyllenhaal's character - gets creepier and creepier as time goes on, and it's an outstanding performance from him that makes this movie what it is. Riz Ahmed also does a fine job as Rick, Louis's assistant, who gets a bit more than he bargained for in an "unpaid internship." I wouldn't recommend this film for anyone that is squeamish, as there are bloody accidents throughout, but for anyone else, I highly recommend this movie.

Nightcrawler is in theaters today, October 31st, and is rated R with a runtime of 117 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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