Film Review: Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal leads the way in what is the most disturbingly inspiring film of the year

Jacob Kjerulf

Contributing Writer

kjjacob1@umbc.edu

Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler tells of the lengths some people will go to in order to find and keep success in the form of the strange yet complex Louis Bloom.

The lengths some will go to in order to achieve the American dream – this is what writer/director Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler is all about. Success stories have always been able to touch hearts. Consider this story to touch more brain cells than hearts in what is the most disturbingly inspiring film of the year.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the down-on-his-luck Louis Bloom, who must resort to stealing in order to make ends meet. One night, however, he comes across a car accident and a film crew that gets paid to film the aftermath of violent accidents and crimes. Feeling inspired, he sets out to become the most successful “nightcrawler” in the business, at any cost.

Overall, the plot is very simple as it focuses on Louis Bloom’s psyche in conjunction with his controversial rise in the local news for being able to capture the most horrific shots in the business. It is because of his psyche that he has become so successful, which makes this film an interesting character study.

The characterization of Louis Bloom is handled expertly by Gyllenhaal, who carries the film from the very first scene. From every shot of his face it is clear that Bloom is not entirely mentally stable and rarely does he blink, as if his life depends on capturing every moment.

While the actions Bloom takes to become more successful at his business are disturbing in themselves, it is the dinner scene with his boss, Nina (played by Rene Russo), that is the most unnerving. This is the scene where the viewer learns just what kind of man Bloom is and if they really want to keep rooting for him.

The complexity and genuine strangeness of Louis Bloom are sure to leave an imprint on the viewer. However, this isn’t a run-of-the-mill success story to make people feel happy when the credits roll. No, this is a film that is meant to challenge the viewer and their own moral standing.

Aside from the moral implications of the film, the story becomes more of a thriller as Bloom goes further down the road less taken. As his character unfolds after each nightly filming, the viewer has to ask what more he is capable of. In a way, this parallels the media and how it thrives on telling bad stories meant to put people in a state of fear and glued to their television sets.

In his directorial debut, Dan Gilroy gives the world what could possibly be this generation’s Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver). As the name Bloom would imply, this film could serve as evidence of Gilroy’s professional development. Viewers may feel inspired by the dark twisted success story that Nightcrawler offers.

4 out of 5 paws.