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
'Nightcrawler' premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday (6th September) and its star Jake Gyllenhaal has been praised by critics for his depiction of a desperate and immoral crime scene journalist.
Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler has been highly praised by critics ahead of the film's US and UK release.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler.
Continue reading: Jake Gyllenhaal Receives High Praise For 'Nightcrawler'
Genetically altered government agent Aaron Cross (Renner) is part of Outcome, a parallel programme to Treadstone, which created Jason Bourne. Since Bourne's antics have lifted the lid on Treadstone, Outcome director Eric (Norton) decides to terminate his programme by brutally killing everyone involved. But Aaron slips through the net, as does geneticist Marta (Weisz), whom Aaron needs for the meds that keep him going. As Eric's team hunts them down, they head to Manila to find a solution.
Continue reading: The Bourne Legacy Review
When the research assistant to brash young House member Stephen Collins (Affleck) dies in a mysterious accident, the press has a field day with the politician's possible adultery. Naturally, the Washington Globe and its crack staff, including reporter Cal McCaffrey (Crowe), blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), and editor Cameron Lynne (Mirren), are exploring every angle. But there's a catch. You see, McCaffrey and Collins were college roommates, and they've maintained a strong friendship ever since. They've even shared the affections of the Congressman's current wife Anne (Robin Wright Penn).
Continue reading: State of Play Review
The film starts with a quick meet-cute at an American consulate 4th of July barbecue in Dubai, where MI-6 agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen) is flirting with Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts). He doesn't figure out that she's a CIA agent until much later, long after she absconded from his room with a parcel of secret documents and he has woken up from the drugs she knocked him out with. Years later, the two are thrown together again when Koval takes a private security job with Equikrom -- a Unilver-like corporate giant that produces everything from shampoo to diapers -- only to find Stenwick already in place as a deep-undercover operative working for rival firm Burkett & Randle, which is on the brink of a delivering a paradigm-busting new product that Equikrom wants badly.
Continue reading: Duplicity Review
And then there is Michael Clayton, a gripping and complicated thriller with hush-hush undertones that would fit comfortably alongside similar films from the 1970s -- think of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation or Alan J. Pakula The Parallax View, because Clayton writer-director Tony Gilroy certainly had pictures of this fabric in mind.
Continue reading: Michael Clayton Review
Coming off last year's abysmally underrated United 93, director Paul Greengrass thankfully returns for his second film in the series about the titular amnesiac CIA-trained assassin (Matt Damon) with identity issues. Although the resulting film is not nearly up to the hard-to-match bar set by the preceding film, The Bourne Supremacy, it's hard to imagine any other director currently working who would be able to keep the relentless pace delivered by Ultimatum. Unfortunately, it's also all too easy to see that the filmmakers and Damon are coasting when they could be soaring.
Continue reading: The Bourne Ultimatum Review
Set on a depressed and perpetually wet island off the coast of Maine, Dolores Claiborne (Bates) is the focus of the film. Looming in her past is a secret: she may or may not have killed her abusive husband (played in flashbacks by David Strathairn). In the present, Dolores has apparently been driven to madness by her husband and her employer Vera, the elderly woman for whom Dolores nursemaids. At the film's opening, we are presented with what appears to be Vera's death by Dolores's weathered hands.
Continue reading: Dolores Claiborne Review
I didn't know what to expect of Bait. From the media blitz in the past couple weeks, the movie looked like a weird hybrid of Blue Streak, Enemy of the State, and Hackers without Angeline Jolie (dammit!). The story follows Foxx as an inept thief named Alvin Sanders who involuntarily helps Federal agents track down an ultra-cool computer hacker -- Doug Hutchison (that asshole guard Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile) -- who has robbed the U.S. Gold Reserve with lackey Robert Pastorelli of 42 million dollars.
Continue reading: Bait Review
The Bourne Identity is based upon Robert Ludlum's famous series of spy thrillers about the elusive and extra-human Jason Bourne. Matt Damon plays Bourne, a spy who survives a shipwreck in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea but does not remember his identity or past. Implanted in his back are a series of bullets and a capsule containing an account number for a safety deposit box in Zurich. Once inside the box, he uncovers a supply of passport identities, money, and weapons - which only adds to his confusion.
Continue reading: The Bourne Identity Review