Going In: 

The trailers look great and the reviews are stellar.  I hate going into a film with such high expectations, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

Review:

I remember when Jake Gyllenhaal was just Maggie’s little brother. Well, times have certainly changed. Jake has carved out a successful career by being exceptionally particular about the roles he takes. Has any other actor made such smart choices over the past 5 years?  Source Code, End of Watch, Prisoners, and now Nightcrawler. Jake once said “The truth is most of the films that make a lot of money no one remembers, and I’m not interested in making films that no one remembers.” Well Jake, I’m definitely going to remember this one.

Gyllenhall stars as Lou Bloom, a man desperately trying to find his place in this world. We’re told very little about his past, but we learn early on that there is little he won’t do to make some money. When Lou finds success selling captured video footage to a news station, he becomes increasingly obsessed with finding better and bloodier footage, eventually finding himself blurring the lines between observer and participant.

Lou Bloom is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve seen in film.  We’re told he spends his days reading on the internet, soaking in as much information as he can.  His studies cover everything from relationships to running a business, and he loves articulating his wisdom to anyone who will listen.  As Lou transitioned seamlessly between charismatic and creepy, I found myself cheering for him one moment only to be completely repulsed by him the next.  You’ll squirm as you watch from the edge of your seat, fearing Lou’s next move, but unable to look away. Lou may be a detestable sociopath, but he’s so driven and capable that you can’t help but appreciate his moxie. Gyllenhaal’s performance is absolutely Oscar worthy, bringing this captivating character to life.  Shame on the Academy for ignoring his brilliance.

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The film’s tone is another reason Nightcrawler is so deliciously watchable.  For such a dark, serious, and thrilling film, I often found myself laughing out loud as Lou would scold his employee (an eager homeless man also trying to find his way), or come on to his special lady friend (an uninterested news producer played by Rene Russo).  The screenplay, written by director Dan Gilroy, is perfectly paced and starkly original.  Bill Paxton rounds out the cast as a sleazy competing TV News stringer, and though he’s underused, he’s a great addition.

I knew Nightcrawler had hit the bullseye when I felt a pang in my stomach while tuning in to the evening news.  This is twisted, cynical, poignant entertainment.  Easily one of my favorite movies of 2014, this is something you need to watch.

Rated R for reminding me that “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Nightcrawler Review
Finally, in Nightcrawler, we have a thriller that actually thrills.
Storytelling9
Craftsmanship8.8
Performances9
Satisfaction8.5
The Good
  • Great Script
  • Great Performances
  • Immensely Entertaining
8.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

By day I’m a producer/director at a video game development studio. By night, I’m… um… yeah, i’m usually just a more tired producer/director at a video game development studio. BUT, by weekend I’m a husband, father, and critic of all things.

  • Justin

    I saw the trailer in the theater a few months ago. I’ll be honest: for the first 40 seconds, I thought it was a gritty alternative origin story for Nightcrawler, the Marvel X-Men character. And I was REALLY excited.

    Still excited about this, though.