Written by The Kendog   
Thursday, 06 November 2014 15:40









Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog!



Movies with unlikeable protagonists are common in cinema, but to do them well and make said unlikeable leads sympathetic takes real talent and a real commitment to the role. In that writer/director Dan Gilroy and actor Jake Gyllenhaal have done something quite remarkable with NIGHTCRAWLER, a film that explores the seedy underside of Los Angeles in a similar vein to the films of Michael Mann. The result is an incredibly entertaining character study combined with some equally compelling thriller elements.




When we first meet Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal), he’s a creepy thief just trying to make ends meet. He wants a job but doesn’t want to go through the regular channels to get it, instead relying on platitudes and half-assed promotional pitches in an effort to get what he wants. One night on his way home he stumbles across a horrific traffic accident. The cops and paramedics are there, but are also joined by Joe Loder (the always terrific Bill Paxton). Loder is a “nightcrawler,” a freelance journalist specializing in capturing grotesque nightc2footage and selling them to news stations. Lou is captivated and soon he’s fully engaged in his new profession, selling his footage to Nina Romina (a welcome return by Rene Russo), a news producer desperate for footage.




Things seem to be looking up for Lou, but Mr. Bloom is something of a sociopath and he soon finds himself influencing the stories he’s covering, much to the consternation of Nina, his competition, the police, and even his partner, the earnest but somewhat dimwitted Rick (the very good Riz Ahmed). The question becomes how far Lou will go to stay on top of an already shady profession.




NIGHTCRAWLER is a fascinating piece of work. Gilroy’s script pulls very little in the way of punches when it comes to Lou’s actions. Sometimes he’s quirky and other times he’s simply reprehensible, but under Gilroy’s direction he is never less than fascinating. Part of me was anxious for him to get his comeuppance while at the same time marveling at the twisted machinations of Lou’s mind. The fact that many of the individuals Lou associates with are conflicted and damaged as well only adds to the disturbing flavor of the film.




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This movie features several standout performances but NIGHTCRAWLER is ruled by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal does a fantastic job of making Lou just sympathetic enough to keep the audience from jumping ship on him. Lou Bloom is ambitious and not pleasant at all, but in Gyllenhaal’s hands he’s fascinating enough for you to hope him to be. It is an award worthy performance that continues to add nightc3to an eclectic and powerful resume. Gyllenhaal is aided ably by Russo who’s as saucy and sexy as ever even as she reaches her sixties. The scenes with her and Gyllenhaal are electric. Also giving great performances are Paxton, whose rivalry with Bloom takes on some nightmarish elements, and Ahmed is terrific as Lou’s “employee” Rick, a man who definitely does not know what he’s getting into when he answers Lou’s call for a part time job.






Those of you expecting a morality tale out of NIGHTCRAWLER are bound to be a little disappointed. The narrative isn’t interested in giving you a tidy ending, but if you want something a little different that’s filled with some fantastic performances, NIGHTCRAWLER is definitely for you. SO SAYETH THE KENDOG!



NIGHTCRAWLER is Rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language.


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