A gently comical undertone makes this thriller even creepier than expected, bolstered by sharp writing and directing from Dan Giloy and an especially clever performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Comparisons to Taxi Driver have been obvious, as the lead character is a potentially dangerous sociopath on a very personal quest. And the film also taps into the current zeitgeist: how the media panders to a public that increasingly screams for blood. It's a thoroughly unnerving film that often feels more like a very grim satire than a proper thriller.
Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a loner who is desperate to make his mark on the world. Searching for something to do, he stumbles across the people who prowl the city streets after dark in search of an event they can film and sell on to a TV news outlet. Learning from a veteran (Bill Paxton), Lou gets his own camera and a police scanner and starts chasing car crashes, house fires and violent crimes all over Los Angeles. And when he finds that TV news director Nina (Rene Russo) wants to buy his footage, he hires Rick (Riz Ahmed) as an assistant, getting even more aggressive about arriving on the scene before the competition. But Lou isn't willing to settle for that, and starts manipulating the news to get even better stories.
Where this goes from here is pretty unimaginable, as Lou reveals himself to be utterly unencumbered by any hint of a moral compass. Of course, this is a central theme of the movie, as it explores the way audiences clamour for more explosive footage, which pretty much eliminates any sense of human decency in the way events are covered. Gyllenhaal portrays Lou as gaunt and hungry, but with an eerie charm that lets him get away with each audacious manoeuvre. Watching him snap at anyone who crosses him is truly terrifying. Although the way he quietly manipulates situations is even scarier.
Continue reading: Nightcrawler Review
Lou Bloom is a hard-working budding journalist whose deep obsession with his career has rendered him more than a little unstable. He traverses the LA streets at night, keeping an eager eye out for the frequently occuring violent crimes that swamp the darkness, and finds himself first on the scene with his camera for a series of serious incidents. It soon becomes clear that the the bloodier the crime he stumbles upon, the higher his pay rate is when he sells those first shots for the news; but that kind of exposure begins to seriously damage his mental health and general sense of morality. He decides to go for a job as a television newscaster, feeling thoroughly confident of his hard work over the years, and stands to live by his rather unnerving motto: 'If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.'
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This is psychological horror, so prepare yourself for some twists. But its first half, in which ominous things occur while George is spending his final night before the procedure and steeling his nerves for it, really ratchets up the tension, scene by scene. Maybe it was just a vaguely anxious mood I was in during my screening of the DVD, but for some reason the hair on the back of my neck was on end for the first full hour of the movie... strangely panicked about what was going to happen next.
Continue reading: Sublime Review
It's nothing like the country vibe we were anticipating.
The most exciting movies set to drop in the coming months.
A gently comical undertone makes this thriller even creepier than expected, bolstered by sharp writing...
Lou Bloom is a hard-working budding journalist whose deep obsession with his career has rendered...