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Nightcrawler: Blockbuster Gyllenhaal Performance in Dark & Eerie Thriller

  • Bill PaxtonJake Gyllenhaal...
  • Thriller
  • Dan Gilroy
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Nightcrawler: Blockbuster Gyllenhaal Performance in Dark & Eerie Thriller

Jake Gyllenhaal is almost unrecognisable in Dan Gilroy’s chilling directorial debut, Nightcrawler; an intelligent and well-crafted neo-noir psychological drama that delves deep into the mind of a sociopath and the lengths he goes to for fame, money and glory he believes he deserves.

Written and directed by The Bourne Legacy screenwriter, the film’s premise is based on the shady world of nightcrawlers – freelance videographers that roam the streets looking for crime scenes which they then sell to TV networks.

Nightcrawler takes place on the dark and gloomy streets of contemporary LA and it is centred on Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal); an out-of-work, articulate loner who has a distinctly unsettling air around him.

After coming across a car accident and spotting nightcrawlers at work, Louis is immediately taken in by the idea and is convinced that he can do the same, maybe, even better.

After pawning a stolen bicycle in exchange for a second-hand video camera and a police radio station-scanner, it’s not long before Louis befriends KWLA station chief, Nina Romina (Russo), who is quick to recognise his natural talent for the job. Focused and almost maniacally determined, Louis’ operation soon expands and, along with his homeless GPS-tracking assistant, Rick (Ahmed), he begins to descend deeper into sordid line of work.

Nightcrawler is grim, electrifying and requires a certain frame of mind before letting it devour you. Shot mainly at night, the dark and eerie L.A streets make for a perfect backdrop for a story being told through the eyes of a disturbingly engaging sociopath. For all the aesthetic panache, however, the story intelligently explores the influence of the media and the growing competitiveness of journalism.

Led gaunt-looking Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler offers one of the most tantalizing and provocative performances of the actor’s career; dead-eyed and emotively alluring, Gyllenhaal holds and demands the gaze of the camera in every scene.

Nightcrawler is one of those rare films that pleases the eye, grinds the cogs of the audience’s brains and sends shivers down your spine. It’s an unconventional story with unconventional characters that will, in one way or another, strike a chord with the subjects it raises.

Like This? Try

End of Watch (2012), Prisoners (2013), Gone Girl (2014)

360 Tip

Jake Gyllenhaal lost ten kilos for his role; this was apparently Gyllenhaal's own idea, as he visualised Lou as a hungry coyote.

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