Louis Bloom is a man without a mission. A solider without an order. A Samurai without a sensei. He is lost, craving attention and yearning be to a man of importance. He is also someone who seems to be completely devoid of basic human emotion. Disturbingly so. When you speak to him, the lights are on but nobody is home. You can tell that he spends all his time reading self-help books and how to succeed in business.
When Lou discovers the world of Night-crawling, he finally finds a vocation he can excel in. Which just happens to involve videotaping horrible crime related incidents, car crashes and victims of murder for the local news. As Lou explores this new venture, he will do anything and everything to be the man of the hour and get the scoop. Even if it means tampering with the crime scene or holding back information from the police, blurring the line between observer and participant.
As the oscar season heats up, we are going to be treated to some of the year’s best performances and Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom will definitely be on that list. It’s hard to have the lead character of your film be as sleazy and morally corrupt as Lou and still have him be a lead we still want to see succeed.
When Lou is on the screen you can almost paint your own picture of what his life was like. The loneliness, the need to be accepted, the lies and excuses you tell people to make yourself feel better about your place in the world. Jake is able to get completely lost in this character to the point where you don’t see Gyllenhaal anymore. Just a man who might of strangled too many cats in his youth and in an effort to not give into his deranged mental state, decided to focus hours researching Tony Robbins and make something of himself.
What is off putting about a character like this is how at times you start to like Lou, even though you know you shouldn’t. He is a selfish, mild mannered sociopath but yet you’re with him through his struggles and the challenges he overcomes. You start to root for him at certain points in the story and then at the same time, question yourself as to why you want this man to accomplish his goals.
As the story progresses I have to admit, the premise of the film began to become stale. Watching Lou worm his way into a more prominent position of power is very engaging but there were times were I was asking myself, where the heck is all this leading to. It felt like ramping up a very big hill on a roller coaster, waiting for the drop to take place but the climb just kept going on and on.
Its exciting at first but after awhile you just want to that big moment that the film is leading up to take place. If you’re in a movie theatre and you find yourself looking at your watch repeatedly that is a clear sign that the film is starting to loose your interest. I had this problem in the last third of the film. I was satisfied with the ending but I felt that It lost its punch due to this lag in the storytelling.
Nightcrawler title is aptly named in that it will make your skin crawl. Jake’s portrayal of a morally ambiguous man who’s loneliness and misguided sense of entitlement has made him numb to the human condition, is stunning.
Los Angeles beautifully sets the tone for the picture and becomes a character in it’s own right. The seedy underbelly of Hollywood’s tinseltown is accompanied by wide landscape shots of the city at night. It also perfectly captures the fear mongering and senselessness that goes into the nightly news.
Nightcrawler is a car crash that you just can’t look away from Where creepy, disturbing people who are willing to do anything, reap all the benefits. Even though its main character is someone who you should want dead a million times over, you still want to know where the story will lead him and what becomes of his actions. Full of suspense, thrills and powerful performances from everyone involved.