When I first heard about this movie, I almost assumed Marvel was casting Jake Gyllenhaal as the famous blue X-Man.
I kept hearing from friends and reviewers alike that Nightcrawler was a fantastic film, but I never made an attempt to see it in theaters. When I found out it was on Netflix, I quickly placed it in my queue.
For the most part, I can see what all the fuss is about. Nightcrawler is an extremely solid movie.
There are very few film characters that capture my attention for the entire movie like Louis Bloom, Gyllenhaal’s character, did. I was consistently fascinated with him throughout the entire story. This is a true testament to Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor.
I also enjoyed how consistent the tone was throughout the entire movie. Nightcrawler is a very dark film; the lighting, the atmosphere, and the scenery all play into this darkness. I also thought the camerawork was very impressive, which was simultaneously humorous because Gyllenhaal’s character has quite a few scenes where he talks about getting quality shoots while at the same time, being in a movie with quality shots.
The centerpiece in Nightcrawler is Gyllenhaal’s character; every other character mostly serves to tell you more about Louis Bloom, and that’s that Louis Bloom is a scumbag and a manipulator. He’s cold, calculating, and dangerously intelligent. This movie is essentially a character study of a sociopath with a massively high IQ. Because of this, the entire experience of Nightcrawler, aside from the amazing cinematography, is you trying to figure out whether you really want to root for Louis Bloom or not. On one hand, Bloom is an excruciatingly devoted, hard worker who puts everything into what he does. On the other hand, he has lost nearly all of his humanity and sees everything as a game of numbers. There were times where I was shocked at some of the dark realms Bloom decided to go down as a person.
This movie also has quite a bit of commentary on the negative effects of the news system as a profitable enterprise.
Nightcrawler is certainly a fantastic experience for those who enjoy really well done cinema with amazing performances, especially from Gyllenhaal. However, as a story, there really isn’t any positiveness about it. I think this was completely intentional though. The fact that the movie is so depressing in tone reminds me of a line Bloom has in the movie: “You [don’t] soften the truth or dilute it. I think being clear with your objectives is more important than trying to present your ideas in a non-confrontational manner.”
Though I tend to philosophically disagree, I can definitely respect that in a movie. However, knowing that a lot of people prefer movies with protagonists they can root for and subject matter that’s more cheerful, I know a general audience probably won’t appreciate this film like I can. That doesn’t change the fact that I ultimately enjoyed Nightcrawler, and I’m giving this movie an 8 out of 10.