Nightcrawler

Crime,Drama,Thriller

Darkly comic thriller about TV crime news with Jake Gyllenhaal Discuss this article

It's no news to anyone who watches TV—especially local crime coverage—that the beat has devolved into a cesspool of gore, jittery witnesses and "hot content." What was once prophetic in movies like Network and Broadcast News is now commonplace. Writer-director Dan Gilroy's supercharged Nightcrawler, a viciously funny film, starts from that premise and wisely avoids making the same points. Instead, it twins the frenetic, sleazy hunt for shocking footage with the career ambitions of a closet psycho who, naturally, rises to the top. Closer in spirit to the media-amplified perversity of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, Nightcrawler feels like a major portrait of a sick, insatiable appetite.

The hungry wolf at the centre is Louis, impressively played by a wire-thin Jake Gyllenhaal, who right off the bat doesn't feel like your everyday L.A. loner. Bug-eyed, upbeat and frustrated by his night time excursions fencing stolen goods, he strolls up to a burning car on the highway, the rescue in progress. As he watches the swarming cameramen (freelancers who provide smut to stations for quick pay-outs), a light bulb goes off over Louis' head. Soon enough, he's out there with his own camcorder, getting closer than anyone—he nearly runs over a victim with his car—and sneaking through bullet-strewn homes without permission.

Initially, Nightcrawler plays like a darkly comic how-I-made-it story. Louis marshals an impressive (if slightly cracked) discipline to his new passion. He fancies himself a budding businessman: After a ridiculous interview, he takes on a desperate assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed), for an unpaid "internship" to watch over his wheels while he shoots, and sells a few clips to a crass news director (Rene Russo, tops in a tricky role). But the film takes a brilliant turn into the unexpected when Louis finds himself first at a wreck, even before the police. The corpse could be better positioned to catch the light; he moves it. From there, the bottom drops out and the film plunges into ethical free fall, as entertaining as it is nauseating.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Doha,

Nightcrawler

  • Duration: 117
  • Released: Thu, 04 Dec
  • Classification: 15+
  • Language: English
  • Director: Dan Gilroy
  • Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

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