Saturday, November 1, 2014


Plot: Freelance video photographer Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) crawls the streets of LA at night, filming for accidents and crime scenes to sell to TV stations for their morning news. Lou is driven to succeed, and he has odd ideas about business that he tells everyone. Soon he gets some scoops and sells them to Nina (Rene Russo) at struggling channel 6. He stumbles into a multiple homicide crime scene, and does some unethical things for better images, and these lead to the closing scenes. {imdb]  [photos]

Review: There is something a little off about Lou Bloom -- we see that immediately. In Nightcrawlers, Lou slides from a hustler who is a little weird, to an overeager paparazzo,  to a twisted manipulator, and finally to an evil man with a character disorder. Perhaps he always had a character disorder? 

Jake Gyllenhaal gives a great performance in making an believable character. My issue with the character is more with the writing than the writing by director Dan Gilroy, which gives us an obsessive loner character who is also people-oriented enough to be a master manipulator. That is an unnatural combination. 

There is one police car chase scene that is exceptional -- very suspenseful and more realistic because they are following the police and trying to film it.

The soundtrack is great -- several interesting pieces. The photography was strong too, especially the chase scene. 

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed

Written and directed by: Dan Gilroy; Gilroy is a writer, but he did a nice job here in his first directing assignment.

Rating: 3.0 stars: A good performance by Gyllenhaal; nice chase scenes; some interesting psychological twists. It was not always fun-to-watch because Lou was so creepy. 

More:  Nightcrawler is a thriller not an expose of freelance video photographers because of the twisted mental state of Lou. Lou's business blather is not so different from what pop business gurus say about getting ahead. When Lou does questionable things at first, perhaps this is OK.  As it continues, the moral lapses get greater, and we get a sarcastic critic of small business culture.

Even More: Possible Oscar nomination for Gyllenhaal.