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Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler - (Dan Gilroy) Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill PaxtonWork hard. Pay your dues. Don't cut corners. Succeed.

Overall Grade: A
Story: A-
Acting: A+
Direction: A
Visuals: A

Summary:  Jake Gyllenhaal assumes complete mastery of his role as fledging video news videographer, Lou Bloom. Everything you always feared about modern news reporting comes to vivid life in the most gripping persona of evil since Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh (in No Country For Old Men).

Full Review: Dan Gilroy has a stellar debut in the director's chair with Nightcrawler. A screen/TV writer for over 10 years, Gilroy commands the storyline (which he also wrote) by a vivid videography of intense "realistic" style that superimposes the kind of professional seriousness that is echoed in the obsessive protagonist of the movie.

The story is simple. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a small time thief that is looking for a focus to his obsessive energies. Through a happenstance encounter, he realizes the thrill and potential rewards of video-taping crime and mayhem in the night life of the LA basin.  Gyllenhaal's character, Lou, shows a fanatic demand for detail which results in acquiring some much sought-after footage of gruesome car crashes, bleeding attack victims and other tragic scenes. His stock with local TV station news rises sharply and he uses it to his full advantage.

At first blush, Lou appears demanding and intense, with an almost uncaring sense of fairness and justice. But his amoral sense of duty and hard work quickly are set aside for the fruits of an immoral rampage to gratify Lou's desperately hungry ego, and the accompanying monetary rewards. The film is very dark, but a couple of times grasps unrealistically at trying to convey the depravity of Gyllenhaal's character when plot twists allow him to get away with obviously criminal acts.

Nightcrawler is not a film for everyone. It will be too dark for some. But those who liked Crash or characters such as Walter White (Breaking Bad) or Dexter Morgan (Dexter) should think of Nightcrawler as the next evolution of the darkest form of antihero. Technically speaking, the cinematography, acting, directing and writing are some of the best you will see anywhere, in any year.

The language, violence and themes of this film are easily "R" in rating. But I would not allow any child under 18 to see this film. For me, the rating should have been NC-17.

This film is powerful, convincing, but very dark. For those whom it fits, it will be the single "must see" movie of the year. One which you should not wait to see on video- this is powerful, intense and important silver screen visual overload. That said, do not go if you have a queezy stomach or need a heroic and moral character. For those things you will definitely be disappointed.

Perhaps the best film this year.

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Review by Kim Gentes

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