Jake Gyllenhaal plays creepy disturbingly well. When he gets thin, his big eyes look hollow, his wide mouth looks sinister, his intense stare looks… well, intense. And all of these physical attributes, along side his robotic like delivery and focussed attention means he plays the amoral and psychotic Lou Bloom, a Nightcrawler, perfectly.
Lou is a petty thief who is incredibly smart but lacks a lot of social skills. Then he discovers the world of L.A. crime journalism, chasing after accidents and murders with his video camera so he can sell his footage to the competitive local news networks. It is grisly and almost inhuman, but the work can be lucrative, and so with his lack of boundaries and ethics, and with the assistance of a local morning news producer (a deliberately fading beauty in the gorgeous Rene Russo), he quickly becomes the man with the best gory crime footage in town.
You never feel bad for Lou, which is great considering how repugnant what he is and what he does is shown to be. But he is completely compelling, thanks to Gyllenhaal’s skill and a story which shows the world through his manic eyes.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but it’s a descent into depravity and manipulation and it is really good.
It is a shame then that there were literally only about 5 of us in the main cinema of the Penthouse to enjoy it. It was a nice day, and I know it was showing at some other screens in town, but really, how can the Paramount survive with attendance like that? Fingers crossed it keeps its head above water.
But enough of that.
Verdict: Nightcrawler was an intense and gripping thriller and totally worth watching. It’s a pity it seems to have passed most cinemagoers by. 4 video cameras out of 5.