Half Sweet, Half Salty -
Movie Reviews for Movie Lovers
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Ok, full disclosure, Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my all time favourites, not only do I believe he's quite gorgeous (as I'm sure he would me should our paths ever cross), but I also think him a wonderful and versatile actor, but as a true professional I have reviewed this movie as objectively as is possible...
Nightcrawler is a fascinating film, the story of a ghostly Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) who scrapes a living in the shadows by dubious means. The first scene he is caught stealing wire fences and tries to bag a job with the man he sells the stolen goods to, he's a slick negotiater from the start but is told flatly 'I don't hire thieves'. Undeterred he stumbles across an accident on the way home and sees Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) videoing the police pulling a woman from her vehicle, after questioning him, it turns out that Joe is a 'nighcrawler' who arrives ASAP to crime scenes and sells the footage to news channels. Louis' mind is ticking over through those huge unblinking baby blues..So he sets up, after selling a stolen bike, his 'company' and begins his own internship in the murky world of nightcrawlers. To do this he hires a homeless uncertain guy named Rick whom he pays $30 a night after a lengthy discussion to navigate and keep watch the car whilst Louis is filming. Gaining his first newsworthy footage he takes the film to Nina (Rene Russo, it's been too long) the night editor of a news channel and is given his first pay check. Nina is definite about the type of film she wants to increase the ratings, bad things done to white middle class people by minority groups, "if it bleeds it leads". Louis takes this challenge very seriously and sets out to get the best footage by any means necessary with great success,knocking back Joe Loder's offer of him running a second van for him to continue freelancing. This ambitious sociopath, trained by the internet, chants self help management forum mantras, and just when you feel he's tipped over to the wrong side of sane...he smiles and you forgive him for a moment, at your peril. Soon enough he's pressuring Nina for a date, when she succumbs as a 'professional courtesy' he embarks on his own special brand of seduction bordering on blackmail, he wants her and by god he's going to have her..if he doesn't he can always take his films elsewhere, and haven't her ratings gone up recently and where can she go from being a night editor on the lowest rated news channel if he doesn't get her the footage she needs? Louis justifies all his actions by stating that everyone has the choice to decide what they do, and to a certain extent he's right. He delivers the thinly veiled threats in his sing song patter, bordering on psychopathic but never over the top..Don't feel sorry for Nina for too long, scratch the surface and another Louis is lurking just underneath. There are a couple of people who are not morally bankrupt, Rick is surprisingly sensitive and Frank who works at the news channel both attempt to be somewhat moral compasses, but to no avail. Nina and Louis railroad everything and everyone to climb the greasy career pole. The film culminates in a house invasion turned multiple shooting that Louis arrives at before the police and films the grisly footage, but it's what he does with his knowledge of the perpetrators that makes the lines of reality and fiction blur so goulishly, does Louis somehow believe he is directing his own movie?
This film is a dark,satirical swirling mass of steamy LA nights, humour as black as tar and blind, unrelenting ambition and Jake is a revelation as Louis. Initially completely out of synch with the world around him, he slowly realises if he is to realise his dream of owning his own production company he must relax when people call him 'Louie' instead of Louis. Like a starved vulture he watches people's every move..what ties they wear, how they react in situations and attempts to blind them with his business babble, generally very successfully, because Gyllenhaal manages to balance Louis with just enough charm to weigh up his freakishness, never crossing the line to an unbelievable character. His tirade to Nina when he realises the shift of power is in his favour, demanding the news anchors quote his deluded business name during the running of his films and the blink and you miss it reference to her meeting his bedroom demands reveals that she does indeed dance with the devil. Close to the end of the film, there is a scene where he brings Nina the murder scene footage..they are feet apart, ever drawing closer as he discloses what he has caught on film, explaining he made her wait because he wanted to increase his bargaining power, there is an uncomfortable eroticism that makes you feel that he's not just talking about his films...Thin, haunted, hunted, self assured, full to the brim with throwaway quotes, confidence and swagger, Louis is one of the ultimate anti-heroes..It's great to see Rene Russo on screen again, a shame it's because her husband is the director, she deserves much more airtime than that. Nevertheless it's good to see her sensuous brand of desperation and last taste of youth mixed with the flattery and disgust of this younger man's attentions that can help her scrabble her way once more to the top..
Nightcrawler...creeps up the back of your neck and makes your heart thump a little faster - 8.5/10