Nightcrawler is a surprisingly original movie that is disturbing, creepy and beautifully filmed in all its grisly dark humor. A film noir descent into psychosis and soul-less immorality that is more about intellectual stimulation than it is about entertainment. Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal – from a film family – is one of the most underrated talents in Hollywood and this vehicle shows that, much like his movie-boyfriend in Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal is every bit the pliable actor the late Heath Ledger was, though Jake has yet to give us a performance on the level of Ledger’s Joker, this Norman Bates-meets-Wayne’s World comes close.
Creepy Louis Bloom from Nightcrawler is a far cry from selfless hero Colter Stevens which Gyllenhaal played in director Duncan Jones’ now-classic science fiction mind-twist Source Code. Nightcrawler revolves around newly-minted on the scene news gatherer Bloom’s solitary genius and his pathological risky behavior. The risk/reward prospect works well for the fast-talking, smart but clearly off-balance Bloom, and for his unwritten partner in this endeavor, Rene Russo. It was just 18 years ago the 60 year old Russo was the pretty wife of Mel Gibson in Ransom and that’s an eternity in Hollywood where great acting emerges when the youth fades. Same for Bill Paxton – a far cry from his “punk leader” in 1984’s first Terminator movie, he’s as almost unrecognizable in this as John Goodman’s hippy drug dealer was for Goodman in 2012’s Flight.
Nightcrawler Official Trailer #1 (2014) – Jake Gyllenhaal Movie HD
Watching Bloom stare at the camera in the police interrogation room is very much like watching Norman Bates turn into “mother” at the end of Psycho when he/she asks for a blanket. That Bloom suffers from personality disorder is a given, and his no-rules lifestyle is clearly dangerous, and ignored by those around him. Russo’s Nina character ignores the obvious, as does Bloom’s partner Ricky Garcia (played by actor Ricky Garcia.) They’re instantly aware of the insanity at play but buy into Bloom’s skewed mission and focus, perhaps a vicarious need fulfilled to push the boundaries and break the set rules of life.
Directed and written by Rene Russo’s husband, Dan Gilroy, the sweeping cameras and stunning landscapes run parallel with Louis Bloom’s Blair Witch Project photography that is submitted to Russo’s character Nina at a furious pace. Dan Gilroy co-wrote 2012’s very excellent The Bourne Legacy which featured Jeremy Renner, and which was directed by his older brother, Tony Gilroy. Between the Gyllenhaal and the Gilroy/Russo clans, you have a very keep-it-in-the-family sort of business detail of Hollywood bloodlines merging onto the artistic canvas, but that’s not a bad thing. The work is superlative, if deeply disturbing and a bit over the top. The clincher is that it is very effective and when you think you’ve figured it out, you haven’t. It’s a daring and unique drama and as this critic is always looking for something that doesn’t have the usual Hollywood feel, Nightcrawler gets an A plus in that department, and a good job overall. You’ll leave the theater in another dimension.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.