Gyllenhaal disappears into the ‘Night’ – Review of ‘Nightcrawler’


Photo taken by Jason Wiese

Photo taken by Jason Wiese

Photo taken by Jason Wiese

Five Stars

Devin King | Staff Reporter

In “Nightcrawler,” from Bold Films and distributed by Open Road, broadcast news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo) describes the perfect crime footage as “something that people can’t turn away from.” That is exactly what this thought-provoking thriller is.

In “Nightcrawler,” opening today, Jake Gyllenhaal disappears in his role as Louis Bloom: a creepy and morally-apathetic freelance crime capturing cameraman who roams the streets of Los Angeles with a police scanner and camcorder in search of crime scenes around the city to film. He makes a successful, yet questionable, living selling his increasingly grotesque footage to a local broadcast news station.

The film’s morally ambiguous plot does an excellent job of portraying what an emotionless, yet ambitious crime journalist would do to excel in their field. Many scenes of the film can be described as “tough to watch, hard to look away,” but also keep the audience invested from beginning to end. There are numerous scenes will make hearts race with suspense and it is likely that viewers will feel “dirty” after some of the more disturbing ones.

“Nightcrawler” is among many films this year that have been successful in accurately capturing the essence of their set location. Cinematographer Robert Elswit (known for the “The Town,” “There Will Be Blood”) does a flawless job bringing a Californian atmosphere to the film, especially during the gorgeous night scenes.

“Nightcrawler’s” best feature is Gyllenhaal  who portrays Bloom’s polarizing creepiness and unethical ways to unimaginable heights that will constantly surprise audiences. Russo and Rizwan Ahmed, as Bloom’s reluctant partner Rick, give great performances as well but Gyllenhaal undoubtedly steals every scene.

Writer and director Dan Gilroy deserves a massive amount credit for capturing real aspects of broadcasting and crime journalism, whether they be positive or negative, and being able to keep viewers on edge for the film’s entire 117-minute run. The pacing is absolutely fantastic for the most part, however, it does take noticeably slow turn towards the end but this is not a deal breaker by any means.

“Nightcrawler” is a truly unique experience that exposes the dark side of relentless ambition.