Nightcrawler: Captivatingly Creepy Gyllenhaal

‘Nightcrawler,’ the festival favorite from director Dan Gilroy, is worth your time on DVD and streaming for Jake Gyllenhaal’s brilliant performance alone.

Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of sociopathic news stringer Louis Bloom cements him as one of the brightest acting talents working in mainstream film today.

Writer/Director Dan Gilroy and producer Gyllenhaal have crafted an amoral, sociopathic character study with ‘Nightcrawler’ that is as captivating as it is wince-inducing at the behavior of its protagonist.

When small-time thief Louis Bloom stumbles upon a highway accident and the news crew filming it, Bloom becomes intrigued at becoming a “stringer,” or independent video news journalist. Making quick use of his skills as a thief for some immediate cash, Bloom soon is racing through the streets of Los Angeles in his beat-up Toyota with a police scanner and video camera.

Bloom’s sociopathy makes him a natural talent for the grisly work, as he shows no sympathy for the victims. His only goal is to capture the most visceral shot of the mayhem in order to sell the images to local television stations.

‘Nightcrawler’ succeeds mostly due to Jake Gyllenhaal’s wholly unsympathetic portrayal of the ambitious Louis Bloom. Gyllenhaal has created a character who is both mesmerizing and repugnant, intelligent yet devoid of humanity. Like an ambulance-chasing Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem in ‘No Country for Old Men’), ‘Nightcrawler’s’ Louis Bloom is completely singular in his purpose.

Gyllenhaal is brilliant in the role, and director Dan Gilroy has smartly fashioned a simple, if engaging, storyline which lets the actor elevate the material through his performance.

After seeing Jake Gyllenhaal’s more recent work in ‘Source Code,’ and ‘Enemy,’ I was anticipating with ‘Nightcrawler’ that this performance would be time well spent. Not only was it a uniquely crafted performance, the “Head Nerd” puts this on a par with DeNiro in ‘Taxi Driver’ or Pacino in ‘Serpico’ where the actor is the movie.

That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t deliver on other merits as a quality feature…it does. Gilroy’s directing debut gets superior performances from all of its actors, including Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and Riz Ahmed. ‘Nightcrawler’ also deftly turns the city streets and locales of the Los Angeles areas into Bloom’s unwitting co-conspirators.

Sure to have its own cult movie status, this ‘Nightcrawler’ is an instant classic and will be remembered for showcasing both Gyllenhaal’s and Gilroy’s exemplary work. Nominated for over 65 awards, including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the only shame here is that old Oscar overlooked Gyllenhaal’s dynamic work here.

Where the Academy is a political process, over here at Flixnerd.com we just love movies. And there’s a lot to love about ‘Nightcrawler.’

Flixnerd Review: Nightcrawler

★★★★☆

 

 

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