Nightcrawler opens by introducing us to a young man, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal, End of Watch, 2012) looking for an income and work. We very quickly get a picture of him as he sells stolen metal to a building site. Using negotiating skills he observed/learned from others he tries to maximise his income. Trying to turn the situation to his benefit he asks for a job, only to be refused, pushing for roles, the site-supervisor tells him out-right that he will not hire a thief.
As he tries to make a living he come across an accident being filmed by a stringer, Joe Loder (Bill Paxton, Edge of Tomorrow, 2014) who fills him in on what is happening. This is something Louis thinks he can do. Buying a new camera (financed through the theft of a sports bike) he begins to film accidents and issues using a police scanner to get to incidents. Trying to always stay one step ahead of the others he meets and develops a working relationship with Nina (Rene Russo Outbreak, 1995) , a night news director at a local news station.
As each night progresses he learns from those around them and shamelessly robs ideas from them always trying to stay ahead. As part of his attempts to move forward he interviews and hires an young out-of-work assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed, Four Lions, 2010) on what can only be described as “slave-labour” terms. The interview process and subsequent interaction shows us in no uncertain manner just what kind of guy Bloom is.
As business grows for Bloom we see that it is on the back of others, always moving forward and quite happily at the expense of others. As we see the relationship with Nina develop we are left sitting in a mix of shock and wonder. This is clearly a man whose moral compass is different to ours. The increasingly complex relationship with Nina is mirrored in his relationship with Rick, his assistant. In no “legitimate” organisation would Bloom’s behaviour be acceptable but young Rick is desperate and needs the job.
Bloom is a person who sees a problem and works to a solution, regardless of whether or not the solution is ethical or legal.
This approach to those around him leaves us considering if Bloom is actually sane. Those around him question likewise. The movie develops along with Bloom to the extent that when he decides to take a very unconventional step with life-changing consequences we firmly see just how twisted he is. As he says himself, his issue may not be that he cannot communicate with people but that he does not like people. Beating the police to a home invasion Bloom discovers more than he bargained for. Breaking into the house he films ultra graphic scenes of the murder, but also captures the images of the murders (which he does not release to the police or other media). Thinking only of his advancement “to the next level” bloom orchestrates a series of moves which entail him avoiding police arrest (for being on the scene) and ultimately tracking down the people responsible for the home-invasion so that he can film the arrest and gain more prestige in the industry. A move that has tragic consequences.
Is this movie good? It is okay. Is Jake Gyllenhaal any good in the movie? He is brilliant. This is probably Gyllenhaal’s most significant acting role, watching the movie I see Louis Bloom not Jake Gyllenhaal. The one weakness I would have is the treatment of Rick by Bloom, surely no employee could be so hard-up as to continue for as long as he did with Bloom, paid so little and abused so much. The dialogue is excellent through-out with Gyllenhaal’s Bloom fully succeeding in creating a character we dislike EVERY time he opens his mouth.
Rene Russo’s Nina is a very smart character, an ideal foil to Bloom. The developing relationship is worked to a surgical precision, with the relationship echoing closing the unfolding events, events which lead up to the high-octane denouement.
With a different cast this movie could have been a poor reflection of itself, as it stands it has been tightly directed with a cast who were able to deliver more than just the lines required of them. The characterisation is key to this film, with events working to supply the characters with the ammunition needed to portray the roles just as needed.
This is a **** Movie. There are certain plot gaps which I felt took away from the “perfect” label many have attached to this movie, but don’t let that take away from the experience, it is an excellent film.