Nightcrawler is the latest thriller film from director and writer, Dan Gilroy who brought us The Bourne Legacy. Jake Gyllenhaal plays an offbeat, relatively awkward young man named Lou Bloom. Lou is struggling to make a career for himself. He goes to different places asking for employment opportunities. He is very well spoken, interesting and has a certain peculiarity to him. While on his way home from another failed attempt at obtaining employment, he happens to come across an accident scene. His is mesmerized and enchanted by the accident and does nothing to help the people who are in danger. Two men with video cameras who are rushing toward the scene interrupt Lou and break his trance.
Lou then asks the men what they are doing and they reveal that they are stringers; men and women who attempt to be the first on a crime scene to videotape and then sell footage to the news stations. First, as a human being, I find this whole concept to be perturbing. People out there are more concerned with getting the footage of human suffering and pain, than actually helping those people. This begins outlining the downward moral and ethical spiral of Lou Bloom. He buys himself a camera and police scanner and follows the news and eventually hires Rick, played by Riz Ahmed, to be his partner. What makes Gyllenhaal’s performance in this film incredible is his portrayal of a character that lacks simple human emotion or empathy. He can totally disconnect from the human experience and become a total observer, as if just watching life through a looking glass.
Through a series of questionable moral decisions by Lou, we begin to see even more of his lack of empathy and human emotion. The footage he provides becomes more and more vulgar, which then begs the question of what should we sensor on television and moreover how the media and news stations are fear mongers and gain their ratings by feeding the public stories to further cater to the white middle class agenda.
The story continues to develop with great suspense, pacing and acting by Gyllenhaal. I would argue however, while Gyllenhaal’s character is incredibly well written, acted and developed, the other characters lack development. One could argue that is to further alienate Lou as an outsider to the human experience.
Overall, I would rate this movie an 8/10. The film delivers a suspenseful ride and like any good movies, makes you question your perception of your everyday reality.