nightcrawler posterWhat’s it all about?

When Lou Bloom, a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran.

Why did I want to see it?

I knew nothing about Nightcrawler before I came across some clips of Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role looking gaunt and driven, and that certainly captured my interest. Since then I’ve read/heard quite a few positive reviews so was very keen to see what all the fuss was about.

What did I think of it?

I thought this was an excellent film, and not just because of Gyllenhaal’s astonishing central performance. The whole topic of the drive for ratings (even in news programming) and the need for footage of crime scenes and accidents is always current, and this gives an insight into how that all happens (though I’m hoping that the guys who get this stuff in real life are not like Lou).

The film starts out giving us a view of Lou’s character – driven, wordy, odd; clearly there is something not quite right here. Then he accidentally comes across the (always wonderful) Bill Paxton filming the outcome of a crime and sees a career for himself which he pursues with a level of intensity which  is always unsettling but becomes really disturbing when he crosses the line in one of a number of “he’s not really going to do that – is he?” moments that make you realise that we are dealing with someone who doesn’t operate within societal norms.  Whether that’s because he doesn’t understand them or he just doesn’t care only really becomes clear quite late in the movie in a chilling conversation with his assistant (an excellent Riz Ahmed).

Rene Russo is also convincing as Nina, the TV news director who is manipulated by Lou not colluding with him, something she’s willing to live with because he can deliver the goods.

But this is definitely Gyllenhaal’s film and surely he will get an Oscar nod, not just because he physically transforms himself in the way the Academy seems to love (he apparently lost over 20 pounds for the role) but because he is so convincing as a man with a plan for success which he will pursue no matter what that requires of him.

It’s dark and edgy and sleazy and blackly satirical and I loved every minute of it. Really worth watching.