Nightcrawler (2014) Review
Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom and Riz Ahmed as Rick, is a fantastic film about Lou’s desire to be successful in his chosen career - being the first to report on crime scenes and accidents at night.
Lou’s drive quickly turns into manipulation and exploitation as he is willing to go to several extremes to be successful. Director and screenwriter Dan Gilory creates a well written and directed film, capturing the darker side of the news industry and of Los Angeles.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is excellent. He is charming as Louis, being nice to the broadcasters and other staff at the news, and appears exceptionally knowledgeable, reeling off facts, statistics and what he has learnt from his research at a moment's notice. Bloom can be extremely manipulative however, which Gyllenhaal switches to quickly; as a con man he knows exactly what people want and how he can get it from them.
The film lays bare the desperation to be the first with a big scoop
The most prominent example of this behaviour is with Rene Russo’s Nina Romina, who he bullies into gaining more money, by commenting on the fact her contract is up for renewal and how much the ratings would go up by having his work shown. Bloom also praises his employee Rick at just the right moments to keep him on, but only gives him a measly raise as a thank you. Lou maintains a charming exterior to establish likeability, but once that relationship is formed he reveals his true exploitative nature.
Ahmed also gives a strong performance as Rick, a young street hustler who wants the same success as Lou. Rick realises that there are boundaries to crime reporting, though, and towards the end of the film questions Bloom’s methods. He is the moral centre of the film. Russo deserves great credit, too, turning in an excellent display as news producer Nina Romina.
Nightcrawler captures the dark and gritty side of journalism. The film lays bare the desperation to be the first with a big scoop and the issues of showing news stories that pander to a specific audience. It is a thoroughly enjoyable watch, and a must see for those who are fans of the genre and a cautionary tale for people not be caught in their own drive for success.