Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is desperate for work and stumbles upon the world of LA crime journalism where he races to get to the scene of a crime to film the tragedy and then sell the footage to a morning news station. The line between spectator and participant begins to blur as Lou does more and more questionable things in order to get the best footage he can get.
Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal as Lou Bloom and it’s the best work of his I’ve seen in ages. Lou is an interesting character. He’s desperate for work so you feel sorry for him and want him to succeed but then as he does begin to have success by filming other peoples misfortunes it becomes clear that he has a warped sense of reality. He’s not a nice guy at all, he is manipulative and greedy but at some points he is oddly charming which really puts you on edge. Lou is a creepy guy that will go to extreme lengths to get what he wants and you can’t take your eyes off of him.
Gyllenhaal is backed up by Rene Russo as Nina, the TV news veteran who he sells his footage to and Riz Ahmed as Rick, Lou’s assistant. Both give great performances throughout and they both bounce off Gyllenhaal brilliantly. The moments where they both realise that there’s something not quite right with Lou and how he perceives the business are surprising in different ways.
Nightcrawler makes you think about the way in which we as a society consume the most violent crimes – but only certain crimes. As Nina says, the news desk only wants stories about “urban crime creeping into the suburbs”. That theme is something that Rick also picks up on but from the opposite side of things when he questions why he and Lou won’t report on a crime involving a black person as the victim.
Nightcrawler is a dark tense film with moments of dark humour. Thanks to the editing, music and performances it feels very restless like you have been up all night experiencing it. Gyllenhaal gives a fantastic lead performance as creepy but determined Lou and with the twists and turns Nightrawler is a thrilling film. 5/5.