”Why you pursue something is as important as what you pursue.” – Lou Bloom.
A directorial debut from Dan Gilroy portrays the story of Lou Bloom, a determined media-fanatic with a keen eye for journalism, who crosses the boundaries between morality and selfishness to build a successful news business. Now, I know that the plot doesn’t sound like a convincing pitch, but believe me; you would be wrong to assume so. Before we get started, there is a possibility for a few spoilers as I will be discussing the film in some detail, so here is your SPOILER WARNING.
A well written script is paramount for any film to entice an audience, and Nightcrawler does exactly this. The dialogue from the outset is authentic, natural and intriguing; which remains consistent through the movie’s entirety. We can also thank Jake Gyllenhaal for this, for his performance was truly sublime. Bloom is everything to like in a person; he’s a talkative, enthusiastic, determined character, yet there is a very sinister side to him that lies within his nature. He is desperate, who resorts to theft and even murder to earn a living. He is unaware of where the boundaries between right and wrong lie, and if he does, he has no hesitation in crossing them. As the film progresses, Bloom becomes truly frightening, doing whatever is necessary to obtain the footage that separates the wheat from the chaff; and this is what makes him so interesting. Whether we are supposed to root for him or be disgusted by his acts remains ambiguous, but one thing we know for certain is that he is unique in his enthusiasm for being successful.
Nightcrawler shows exceptional insight into the world of journalism, but has no hesitation in displaying the flaws of the industry either. There’s even a quote from the movie whereby Nina (Bloom’s footage buyer) states “we find our viewers are more interested in urban crime creeping into the suburbs. What that means is a victim or victims, preferably well-off and / or white, injured at the hands of the poor, or a minority.” And that’s the harsh reality; quite frankly nobody gives a damn about poor or ethnic-minority victims, and to bring such a reality at the forefront of our cinema screens, I can’t help but admire the movie. Any film could depict the wonders of journalism, but instead, Nightcrawler takes a more realistic representation of the news industry.
The movie, however, can be somewhat silly at times. The shocking fact that Lou remains innocent and free to continue his role as an unorthodox crime-journalist is staggering. Throughout the movie he continuously tampers with the crime scenes and evidence to benefit his own cause, yet his involvement in these scenes remain non-existent in the eyes of law enforcement; despite his lack of effort to hide the fact that he was there. Yes it’s a minor flaw, but it’s hard not to wonder whether such circumstances would repeat itself in a real life scenario.
Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler succeeds in bringing an authentic portrayal of the world of journalism to life, with crimes that feel so real and shocking in which audiences can’t help but admire. Every monologue that spills from Lou Bloom’s lips holds a significance to the plot and his character’s development; all of which go together nicely into a neat package. It’s fair to say that Nightcrawler was one of the hidden gems in 2014, and a film to respect and talk about for years to come.
Published 21st February, 2016.
– Corey Hughes.