I review Nightcrawler, a Dan Gilroy crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed.
Nightcrawler is a film that I wasn’t initially interested and didn’t know too much about, until I saw Jake Gyllenhaal as one of the guests on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart shortly before the film’s release. As it turned out, the interview had my interest enough to go and see the movie, and as it turned out, on the very first showing that it aired in my cinema. I was wondering whether it was going to be a disappointing movie or not when only two other people showed up, but given the fact that it was a Friday afternoon and Interstellar also debuted at my local cinema ten minutes earlier, that was something that was probably expected. However, my fears were quickly washed aside, Nightcrawler quickly turned out to be one of the best movies of the year, and also, one of the best movies of the year that you probably haven’t seen, because it didn’t seem to be getting a lot of feedback on my twitter feed around its initial release. It’s one of the most underrated movies of the year, and Nightcrawler deserves a lot more praise – this and Edge of Tomorrow both fall into the same category of movies that are far more deserving of the money and attention given to the likes of Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Jake Gyllenhaal is an actor who I haven’t had much experience with, having seen him only one other movie, End of Watch, where he put in a superb performance. (Fun fact: End of Watch is directed by the upcoming Suicide Squad director, David Ayer, who also directed Fury, which I’ll soon be covering on this site, and both films are very awesome indeed) and he delivers again here, effectively carrying the movie, portraying the stone-cold sociopath Louis Bloom, unemployed citizen of Los Angeles constantly looking for a job and receiving virtually no success.
However, his luck quickly turns when he stumbles into a new career and becomes a “Nightcrawler”, armed with a camcorder and a police scanner and his co-worker Rick (Riz Ahmed), Louis starts heading out in search of shocking and often gory crimes for the news to show the following morning. He soon catches the eye of a news director (Rene Russo), who offers him a boost in his career. However, as things quickly escalate, Louis is drawn into a darker and darker path as he attempts to film the next best shot.
I don’t have the best experience with Dan Gilroy as a Director, with The Bourne Legacy being the only film prior to this one that I’ve seen, but needless to say, he certainly stepped up his game for Nightcrawler. It’s a lot more engrossing and just far better in general; drawing you in and making you stick around til the end. It’s dark, and don’t expect any happy endings, with the film itself being one of the most traumatising movies of 2014 after an emotionally gut-punching ending. The end is pulled off so powerfully that even though it may sacrifice character focus for action towards the end of the film, it still will leave you shocked and wondering “did that really just happen?” Needless to say then, it’s not for the fate of heart.
So even though Nightcrawler may not be the perfect movie, and it is in fact, a terrible origin story for a certain X-Man (I jest – the film of course has nothing to do with Marvel or Fox) but as a crime thriller, it is one of the best films of the year and will most certainly fit in the top 10 come the year’s end. Dan Gilroy not only directs the film but also writes it, and the result is an excellent success. If you like a good thriller movie with some superb acting, then you should certainly go and watch Nightcrawler ASAP. Be warned though, it’s not for the fate of heart.