ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | SEPTEMBER 12
Set in Los Angeles, Nightcrawler is the best kind of urban thriller: driven by manic energy, sparkling with gritty glamour and haunted by moral decay.
The movie tells the story of Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), an entrepreneurial but unsettlingly intense young man who stumbles into the night time world of freelance crime journalism.
At first it’s difficult not to admire the entrepreneurial and often comic methods Lou uses to get ahead in the business. His energy, curiosity and motivation liken him to a highly unconventional version of the American self-made man.
However, as his methods gravitate from morally questionable to downright illegal, we see Lou degenerate from luckless eccentric to outright psychopath. This chilling plunge into darkness is depicted by a brilliant performance from Gyllenhaal, who plays the part of Lou with both subtlety and force.
What is most chilling about the film is the nagging feeling that we, the audience, have somehow enabled a situation where the psychopathic Lou can thrive. Nina (Rene Russo), head of the television company that buys Lou’s footage, gives a blunt analysis of what her audiences are looking for; white victims, coloured criminals, urban crime creeping into the suburbs. This is what people will turn on their TVs to see. And in some darker way, it’s what we’re here to see now.
The film’s ability to seamlessly incorporate this level of nuance with the high-speed car chases confirm the film’s status as a deeply unsettling – but highly entertaining – movie.