By KELSEY MOORING
This twisted film will have you looking through the crease of your fingers the entire time. Jake Gyllenhaal is at a career high in this film, playing Louis Bloom, a self-motivated crook who will go to any length to get the best story for the local news station. After he is inspired by Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), a veteran freelance stringer, Bloom leaves his old life behind as a petty thief and creates his own video production company.
Louis uses his manipulative nature to persuade Rick Garcia (Riz Ahmed) to become his assistant for a low wage of $30 a night. Being practically homeless, Garcia could not afford to turn down the insulting amount of money. He was placed with the daunting task of navigating Bloom to whatever location offered the best “money shot.” Rick constantly got lost and turned around, but how could he not be? The man behind the wheel possessed no moral compass whatsoever.
Louis is a sociopath with controlled violent tendencies, but, like many sociopaths, he mandates an eerie charm. The most frightening thing about Louis Bloom is his eyes. They are sunken into the sockets and gleam with hatred. You never know whether or not he is on the verge of lashing out in an uncontrollable wave of violence or simply scheming his next meaningful acronym.
Louis studies everyone he comes into contact with. He learns their weaknesses and insecurities and uses it against them in order to get what he wants. He abuses his well-known ability against Nina Romania (Rene Russo), a producer of a local news station, over a chilling dinner scene.
“You are about to reach the end of your two-year contract, and we both know you never make it past that – so just help me out with my wants, and I will give you what you need,” Louis said.
That is just one example of the brutality of his words, but the intended purpose of the scene is to shock the viewer.
All in all, “Nightcrawler” circles around a bit before it gets into a steady pace and gains momentum, but once the plot picks up it does not stop. As Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut, he produces a tremendous thriller, and it definitely places him on the radar of directors to be watched.
Gilroy paced “Nightcrawler” brilliantly so that the audience never had to wait too long for the next wow factor. The movie can be slow and unnecessary in some moments–in fact the entire last scene of Louis at the police station deems to be almost completely useless to the overall ending.
Although the movie literally “crawls” on at some points throughout, the overall effect of Gyllenhaal’s performance blows away any past role he has portrayed – he has developed exceedingly well as an actor and it truly shows in this film. “Nightcrawler” is tense and intense, grim and captivating, and it explodes with energy and a dark sense of humor.