Watch: Nightcrawler

Monday, 3 November 2014

Ever slowed down in the car to get a look at a car accident? Well Jake Gyllenhaal turns rubbernecking into a very shady career, as anti-hero Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, directed by first-time director Dan Gilroy. A stark comment on today's desensitised, hyper-reality craving times, the film sees down-and-out Lou become a videographer in LA, filming at crash sites, break-ins and other criminal goings on in the city (preferably in good neighbourhoods and involving ethnic minority criminals) to sell to TV news stations.

Gyllenhaal lost a substantial amount of weight for the role and it works: his face is gaunt, his eyes bulge out of his head, lending to the 'otherness' of this wiry, ruthless and overly ambitious carnage chaser. His portrayal is shockingly detailed and uncomfortable; huge, unblinking eyes and a stillness as he recounts self-help platitudes. When we first meet Lou we feel almost empathy for him because he is desperate for work in today's strained economic times and willing to work hard for a foot in the door, yet these very same characteristics are turned on their head when he is in a position of power. Just as people have lauded their power over him, so will he in turn and his determination to work hard is not confined to the barriers of the law, morality or normal decency.

British actor Riz Ahmed (4 Lions) co-stars as his bullied assistant Rick and is brilliant. Almost unrecognisable, with longer hair and no facial hair, he embodies the needy, hesitant vulnerability of Rick, again desperate for work, no fixed abode, willing to do terrible things for money.
Renee Russo also has a good turn as station news director Nina. While the audience become more horrified at the lengths Lou goes to to procure and distribute his footage, Nina only becomes more impressed although she too has found herself in a position of need.

There are high tension action sequences but this film is all about performances. Characterisation rules as the actors deliver performances that literally had my mouth fall open several times.

*All pictures sourced via Google

1 comment:

  1. What a well-written review! I think you've convinced me to check Nightcrawler out. I've been hearing much hype about it lately, and by the way you've described it, seems so dark and intense (aka my type of movie!) Plus, I can never turn down Jake Gyllenhaal ;)