The film shoves a nerve-rackingly well-acted Gyllenhaal creation in our faces and takes us on a high-octane trip through the Los Angeles nightlife and the sickingly stark realism of the news world. “Nightcrawler” always enthralls with a riveting pace and haunting tone.
Due to the perfection of the realistic plot and the portrayals of characters on all ethical wavelengths of the news media spectrum, my pulse was still racing well after this piece was finished. My journalistic conscience was pricked until it was raw with thoughts for my own future career.
The obvious standout performance here is of course that of Jake Gyllenhaal who delivered in a complex man of high aspirations, low levels of human sympathy and one completely crazy and egotistical persona.
In ways, his risky pursuits to capture the “truth,” through skill, a camera and a police scanner are noble and inspirational. But in many ways, they are also disgusting and deplorable.
It takes the dedication of a hardened actor to pull off a protagonist who elicits all kinds of internal reactions from an audience and performs in an assortment of memorable moments that included setting up high-stake crimes to filming and blackmailing his boss.
That boss, the news director of the fictional Channel 6 KWLA morning news, is Nina Romina, played by the talented Rene Russo. She pulls off a tough performance in her interactions with Gyllenhaal and her news crew as she plays the game of gathering high-stakes crime material to use to boost the ratings of her show.
The way supporting actor Riz Ahmed, who plays homeless man Rick Carey, interacts with his boss Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is also extremely reflective of the unpredictable nature of Bloom’s goals and actions and the ideal way the pair handle work exchanges from wages to internships. Their relationship is dynamic and interesting and makes for a well-fashioned main course to the insanity in the “Nightcrawler” script.
One particular moment in the film really captures the movie’s entire feel for me. Lou Bloom has just had trouble with a night of his pursuits, and his instability starts to discreetly boil over. Then it becomes apparent that he has lost it mentally at least a moment as Gyllenhaal looks into his bathroom mirror, screams in a blood-curdling pitch and ferocity, and smashes the wall hanging into dozens of shards.
The score and cinematography help paint the casts’ personalities against a fitting backdrop.
This all unifies in an exciting and moral story that deals with idealism in the workforce and other universal touchstones, from sensationalism to the descent into various forms of madness. The film had me on the edge of my seat entirely, and I was glad to be completely there the whole way for “Nightcrawler’s” crazy, fun and thought-provoking ride.