When you hear a movie title called Nightcrawler what do you think? The X-men superhero? A vicious, mutant earthworm terrorizing the land? Well in both cases you would be wrong, because this movie is none of those things, which may or may not disappoint you. Instead this movie is about the world of news filming, in particular the cameramen who take the vampire shift to capture the shots the public loves. Sound like a snooze fest to you? Well it did to me, but when a guy like Jake Gyllenhaal is cast for the main role, you never know what is in store. So once again kick back and relax as we take you to back to theater for another review.
Let’s start this review by talking about the movie’s biggest factor: Jake himself. The movie is pretty much about his character named Louis, a scrap thief who is trying to rise from poverty into something more. I know we’ve seen these types of stories, but they are usually about someone noble, hardworking, who paints the picture of justice. Not the case in this movie. Louis is a maniacal manipulator, who seems to be borderline insane in his quest to obtain what he wants. Gyllenhaal once again brings these qualities to an extraordinarily detailed manner that it almost seems natural to him. Like Donnie Darko, Jake brings a darker complexity to what would be a simple role, keeping one on their toes as to what Louis will do next to reach his goals. At times it is almost as if you can read what is going on his mind, getting an internal dialogue in a visual sense that helps explain his actions. Some of the his thought patterns mirrored my own perspective, but other times made me fear the savagery that the human psyche can be. This dual nature in Louis had me torn between applauding his scary intelligence and wanting someone to hit him with a car. Whatever path you choose, note this, Gyllenhaal has once again impressed me with his work.
Past his character though, what else does Nightcrawler have to offer? Well the story for one thing is a good hoo,k as this drama/thriller shies away from love and instead turns to career. Now we’ve seen plenty of movies about careers, and can often predict the path of high success, or bottom out failure. However this film strays from that formula by putting a wild card character into the mix, whose intelligence and strategy are a force on its own. The unpredictability tied in with the gradual obstacles, keeps the film interesting, and somewhat realistic as the tale unfolds. Of course there are still plenty of predictable elements to the story, but overall the drama in this film between Louis and the world is a site to behold. Rivalries trust issues, a little love and obsession, and the stress of the job are all qualities addressed in this movie. Each of these components is a real challenge, and had to be solved in a separate manner, which again keeps my intention going. Thus this movie was a nice balance of the drama and thriller components, and for once didn’t revolve around sex, drugs, or affairs to tell the story. Which for this reviewer gets a big thumbs up.
In addition to the tale though, the crew have also introduced a culture shock in the cold-hearted world that is the news. Now we know that humans are drawn to the images of the horrible incidents that happen in the world. However, there is a certain ethical dilemma that follows with how much you show and how far you go to get the shot. This movie takes all of these qualities, and presents them in a format that makes you contemplate your own motives. Would you go as far as Louis to get a shot that is sure to get the public watching your news reel? Could you take the steps he did to get a leg up in the career path? Those were the thoughts running through my mind, which when blended with the presentation made the movie more relevant and entertaining. This movie does a nice job teaching you lessons without crossing into the preachy moments that have been used in other films.
Despite all the good this movie has though, there are a few things that took away from the movie for me. One is the dialog, as realistic as it may seem, why is everyone obsessed with the F word. It is once again overused for me and could have been tapered down a bit. In addition there are some things that could have been edited out, a few parts being a little too drawn out to drag this movie to almost two hours long. Also, there were a few stretches of the tale at points such as how he got a hot rod car that fast, or how his speeding and reckless driving didn’t get him arrested. The driving in particular was rather tacky, because of the lack of punishment; he’s good people, but not that good. Aside from these few things though, the movie is edited well for maximizing entertainment and emotion.
Overall Nightcrawler is one of the better crime dramas I have seen in a while. It presents a nice balance of story building, character development, and drama to keep the tale interesting, without going overboard in details. While I wish it had ended differently, I feel that fans will be pleased with the finale, especially the excitement and suspense of the final moments. Is it worth a trip to theater? While there are many great things about it, this movie doesn’t have anything that is silver screen necessary (i.e. special effects or sound). However, if you are looking for a good movie overall, by all means check this one out. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0