Top 365 Films – #098 – Nightcrawler (2014)


Top 365 Films - NightcrawlerDIRECTED BY: Dan Gilroy

STARRING: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Ann Cusack, Kevin Rahm, Kathleen York, Eric Lange, Jonny Coyne, Michael Hyatt and Michael Papajohn

BUDGET: $8.5m

EARNED (Worldwide): $38.7m

AWARDS: None (Oscar Nomination for Best Original Screenplay, Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor Drama and 4 BAFTA Nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay)

 

SYNOPSIS

When Louis 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.

 

In Nightcrawler we follow through the journey of Louis ‘Lou’ Bloom, a man who one night has an epiphany watching a freelance camera crew on the scene of a car accident and decides that he wants to get into that line of work. He takes a while to get to a incident that he can sink his teeth into but once he arrives at a carjacking films a close-up of he victim and hands the footage to a news director called Nina who is interested in the blood and guts in ‘nice’ areas for the news. Lou obviously has a good eye for a shot, starts to get really good at his line of work as he progresses and then begins to effectively tamper crime scenes for a good shot.

 

Nightcrawler is a film that I have become fascinated by since it’s release in late 2014 not only for the fact that it is a terrific film, but I am still stunned as to why Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for the performance he gives here that will be remembered for decades to come. More similar to Rupert Pupkin than Travis Bickle, Lou Bloom is a loner that can be as deranged as the both of them. When we first meet Lou, he’s stealing a piece of a chain linked fence and beating up a guard that spots him. When he finally discovers his ‘calling’, Bloom reaches all levels of delusion and manipulation as the film progresses, in particular referring to ‘my company’ which is himself, an ‘intern assistant’ who is a homeless guy, a camcorder and a police scanner. Jake Gyllenhaal reaches a point in the film where he no longer exists and all that you see is Louis Bloom, he’s that good.  Lou is a very well articulate individual but he is not a people person, he speaks to people like he’s selling a pyramid scheme, but he just doesn’t understand human emotion at all. Renee Russo hasn’t had a role like this in years, playing cut throat news director Nina Romina, who encourages Lou to get him the cut throat footage to bring rating to the network and Bill Paxton is good as Lou’s rival. The unsung hero of this film would be Riz Ahmed as Rick, the intern that is the audience member that’s stuck alongside Lou at night, his duty to read the police codes and give directions, while also freaking out at Lou’s moral compass and actions. This also happens to be a beautifully shot film, with great cinematography by Robert Elswit and Dan Gilroy gives us a confident and strong directorial debut working on his own screenplay. It may not have been a big award winner for the dark themes that linger over the course of the film but it will remain long in the memory and a decade from now be remembered as a classic.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: As terrific and insane the scene that Lou Bloom and Nina share dinner at a restaurant is, for me the films climax leading to a high speed car chase is brilliantly done.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘My motto is if you want to win the lottery you’ve got to make money to get a ticket.’ – Lou Bloom

DID YOU KNOW?: During the scene where Jake Gyllenhaal talks to himself in the mirror, Gyllenhaal got so into the scene that the mirror cracked, cutting his hand. He had to go to the hospital for 14 stitches, returning to the set after being discharged..

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