run time: 117 mins
considered: Crime, Drama, Thriller
director: Dan Gilroy
starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Kent Shocknek, Sharon Tay, Rick Garcia, Bill Seward, Riz Ahmed, Ann Cusack
movie summary: Los Angeles is a very dangerous place. As the unofficial capital of the west coast, L.A. serves a hub for major crimes both locally and internationally. There are sections of the city you wouldn’t want to be alone in, while other areas are filled with beautiful homes, rich people and no crime. Around every corner trouble can strike at any moment, whether it be a car accident, a shooting, robbery, or a raging fire. Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a fly by the seat of his pants news reporter, who drives the streets listening to police scanners in hopes of catching the perfect story to launch his career to the big leagues.
Life wasn’t always easy for Lou, when he witnesses a car crash and the camera crew who captures it all on film, Louis decides that’s what he wants to do. He heads to the pawn shop with stolen goods to pick up a used digital camcorder. His career starts off on the wrong foot because his equipment sucks and he is always late to the scene. He crosses paths with Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), a fellow reporter, who drives a nice van and always gets the best shot. Lou steps up his game and takes his recordings to the next level when he crosses police tape and enters crime scenes to get the best shots to sell to the networks. As a gun shot victim lays bleeding out on the street, Lou gets right into the action with the paramedics and captures amazing footage that earns him top dollars at the local news station run by Nina Romina (Rene Russo). She is impressed with his passion and dedication so offers him the best deal if he keeps bringing her the best videos.
Louis decides to grow his business and in an attempt to help him get to events faster, he hires a guy named Rick (Riz Ahmed). Rick can not find a job and is currently homeless, the pair agree to Rick’s salary at $30 a night and he starts right off. His main duties will be to breakdown police codes and use the GPS to make sure they are the first news crew on the scene. They take several nights to gel because of their different personalities but soon the duo bust their ass to get the scope before anyone does.
Business is booming because Louis invests in a new car, more scanners, and better cameras. Tension is running high between Lou and Rick because with all the money pouring in, Rick has never got a raise. Things between them and the business are about to get kicked into high gear when they are the first responders to a break in alarm in the rich part of town. Their red sports car gets there before the police so Lou grabs his camera to investigate only to capture a shoot out in the house. Shocked and clueless on what to do, Lou hides in the bushes and turns his camera to record the shooters fleeing the scene. While the bad guys escape Lou keeps the tape from police and decides the only way to capture the best headline grabbing story is to set these guys up and watch the drama unfold.
my thoughts: Nightcrawler is a fantastic movie with a great script that we haven’t seen in a while from Hollywood. Much like End of Watch changed the game with cop dramas, Nightcrawler just changed the game at how we will view the nightly news. It’s not as much as the people reporting the news from the anchor desk, but the depths some people will go get the scoop. There are some crazy people out there who are willing to risk their life for 15 minutes of fame and Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is that guy.
Louis Bloom is not the brightest kid in the class, but is street smart and uses his life experiences to grow his business and become the best reporter in Los Angeles. There is nothing Lou won’t do to get the scoop, he is ruthless, cut-throat, and doesn’t really care about anyone or anything except the story and the cash it will bring him. He’s willing to break the law and disturb crime scene evidence to make a buck. With no clear direction for his life or a steady stream of income, Lou takes to video reporting to a whole new level. When he meets Rene Russo’s Nina character he instantly falls for her and will do anything to catch and keep her attention. She’s willing to risk her career at the studio for his juicy stories because he keeps delivering.
Riz Ahmed’s Rick character is that desperate guy who just wants to have a job and be happy. He gets pushed by Lou who is a bit of a control freak. They really don’t mesh well from the beginning but both want this opportunity to better their lives. Rick seriously has no clue what he has gotten himself into because Lou is just so focused on the next big thing that he forgets everything around him, including those who help him. When he tries to stand up for himself that just rubs Lou the wrong way and he’s willing to sacrifice up his partner to get more out of the story.
You’ve never met a guy like Lou Bloom before. You want to applaud his efforts to rise up the ladder and bring you the nasty news not everyone is happy to report, but at the end of the day you would realize how demented he is. His attitude and tone are both unusual but the people like him. He appears to be very superficial and only lights up when people he wants to impress acknowledge him. If someone doesn’t like him or gets in his way, he’d be more happy to cut their throat and then record it. I found him to be very determined and disturbing at the same time. There would be no way I’d be interested in his line of walk no matter what the pay was, but hey it takes a unique individual to do it. Unique would be a great way to describe the Louis Bloom character that steals the show in Nightcrawler.
my final thoughts: If you haven’t seen Nightcrawler yet I would highly recommend you go out and catch it sometime because it is worth the full price of admission. This movie will most likely not win any awards but deserves a lot of credit for great writing, acting, and giving us something new to watch for a change.
my star rating: 8 out 10
imdb: 8.4 out 10
rottentomatoes: 94% out 100%
rogerebert: 4 out 4