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The_Comatorium's avatar


[soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-]
noun, Psychiatry.
1. a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Cha-fucking-ching. What is on display during the entire two hour run time of Dan Gilroy’s debut film? Oh, just the complete and utter definition of the word sociopath. Gilroy, who has written such films as The Fall, The Bourne Legacy, and everyone’s favorite robot boxing film Real Steel, gives us a look at a perfect sociopath. Cinema has given us plenty of good examples of sociopathic tendencies before. Christian Bale played a sleazy one in Very Bad Things. We have Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gecko, Nurse Ratched from Cookoo’s Nest, and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. None of which can really hold a candle to what Jake Gyllenhaal brings to the table with his character of Louis Bloom. He is the pure definition of somebody who is unapologetic, selfish, wickedly intelligent, and completely lacking of any emotion whatsoever. The fact that he is also batshit insane also helps his case.

The film features Gyllenhaal in almost every scene. He is the one running the show. His character runs the show even though when we first see him, he has a camera bought at a thrift store and is driving what looks like to be a Dodge Dart Hatchback clone from hell. He is jobless and desperate. He tries to get a job anywhere he can, spouting off motivational phrases he read on the internet. He believes in himself. he believes he can get the job done. When he randomly stumbles across a car accident and sees that there are freelance videographers lapping at the chance to score some footage, Lou figures out he’d be perfect for this job. He obviously doesn’t sleep. The film makes it very clear with some gorgeous transitional shots that Lou is not a man of the daytime. He wakes at dusk and probably sleeps at dawn, although I wouldn’t be surprised that the man was functioning on some serious sleep deprivation. Lou starts getting some decent footage and the ball begins to roll into crazy town.

This is a wild ride. The trailer definitely portrays this film as a thriller and it lived up to it. There are plenty of great action scenes that build and sustain tension. The the craziness of Lou, the film really starts to get rolling towards the middle, culminating with a pretty tense and wild finish. The focus for me though, was the satire. This is a funny film. We have Lou and the news station he is dealing with throwing decency and morals to the wind in order to boost ratings and make money. Like earlier this fall with Gone Girl, Nightcrawler takes aim at how media, paparazzi, and general entertainment culture is killing what makes us human. Most of us I would say have compassion towards others. The film deals directly with true real life scenarios such as how every time I turn on the fucking news I’m being told about the death of somebody in the community. It’s no longer news. It’s reminders of how horrible the world can be and how careful we need to be in it. There’s a particular scene, the most uncomfortable scene in the movie, where Jake Gyllenhaal enters a crime scene and sells the footage to the news station. The on air reporters go through every single detail, on air, and describe the shit they shouldn’t be showing in the first place. Is it satire? Yes. No real news station would show the things they showed, but is it really any different than say showing the aftermath of a shooting in Queens? How bout we interview the grieving family of the 16 year old gunshot victim? It may be satire, but it’s on point. The media sucks.

It wasn’t flawless. I had issues with the end. It wasn’t that the film ended on a bad note or on a particular high note. It really just ended on no note at all. I don’t need my films to be tied up in a bow but the film just kinda of left some things unresolved and then ended abruptly. We had a climactic confrontation that led to credits. There was also some forced themes in one of the big scenes at the end that were just not needed. I don’t need to be told that Jake Gyllenhaal is a crazy lunatic. I’ve just watched him be that for two hours. These things didn’t ruin the film or anything like that. They are minor. They are however slight blemishes on what was a very entertaining and stylish film.

I haven’t gotten to the highlight though. Jake Gyllenhaal. The dude fucking killed it. He’s been killing it pretty recently (Prisoners and Enemy) but this was just the huge loony bin cherry on top. He lost 20 pounds for the role and really seemed to dive into the character. Lou has this weird personality where everything he says rolls off his tongue like some crazy motivational speaker. He is in control at every moment. There was one small nuance, where he meets Rick for the first time, where even though Lou is in no position of authority, completely sells the fact that he is running an up and coming business. He even corrects Rick to call him Louis even though he introduces himself as Lou to everybody else. Rick is his employee and he’s going to do whatever he says to ensure he accomplishes his goals. Gyllenhaal was able to make his face contort into that of a completely out of contact with reality psycho. His eyes bulge and rarely blink. He smiles at the peak of his manipulation to drive home what he wants. He is methodical in his logic, even when it comes off with zero compassion for the other person. As stated above, he is a complete sociopath, and he should be heavily considered for major awards once the season begins.

Dan Gilroy’s debut film is a hit. People are going to squirm, laugh, and disbelieve what they see because in reality, this couldn’t happen. Or could it? Could Lou really exist in this world? Yes. You just haven’t met him yet. You have however, probably watched his work on live television. Lou lives on in the daily meatgrind of shit that is passed off as news. Those photos of Jennifer Lawrence that leaked on the internet? That was Lou. That camera guy that Alec Baldwin punched in the face? That was Lou. Lou is an entire society of people wanted to exploit the worst days of everybody else. There is a perfect line near the end of the film that sums up the entire point of the film…

“If you see my face, you’re probably having the worst day of your life.”


4 years 6 months ago
Torgo's avatar


Man, this might be too cynical for some. I had a shiver running down my back several times.

"How much of this can we show?"
- "You mean .. legally?"
"No, morally. Of course legally."

4 years 4 months ago
Trilosodon's avatar


An enjoyable film with a creepy lead character that keeps getting darker & more immoral throughout.
4 years 7 months ago
corchap's avatar


Know what fear stands for?
False Evidence Appearing Real.
4 years 4 months ago
nicolekidman's avatar


Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best (if not the best) male actors of his generation. He's been doing solid work for more than a cople of years now, but his role here solidifies his status.
3 years 10 months ago
frankqb's avatar


Like a modern-day sociopathic Jimmy Olsen, Gyllenhaal is electric in this film. Just as he can't take his eyes off the car crashes, we can't help but take our eyes of the car crash that is his ever-growing thirst for crime footage -- especially when you think you know how it's going to turn out.

How this film got overlooked for an oscar is a crime itself.

Five Stars
4 years 3 months ago
nowhereman136's avatar


Gyllenhaal's character is right up there with Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) and Norman Bates (Pscyho) as well fleshed out psychological movie villains. It's clear early into the film that he is not a moral man, but when he starts getting paid for it, we see how immoral he can be.This is a movie that focuses on a villain, this is his story to win or lose. He is a textbook sociopath. As far as these kinds of movies go, this is a great one. If you enjoyed American Psycho, this one is for you.

However, i prefer a movie with a more relate-able character that i can root for. I enjoy a good crime story as much as the next guy. But Gyllenhaals character is the kind of guy you don't want to be friends with. For that it probably wont make it on my best of list. Still, a solid movie, well acted and paced, a script that felt very natural, and the story never quite let you know what was going to happen next.

4 years 6 months ago
fonz's avatar


You don't always need a good story to follow a compelling character. Jake Gyllenhaal channels Bobby D. to put on an splendid acting performance that might be second only to Michael Keaton in Birdman. But despite the strong performances, most of the characters are paper thin with no real development. We know nothing about Lou Bloom's past and has no real motivation other than he wants some work. To achieve what? Keep his single bedroom apartment in what didn't seem like a shitty part of LA? Once you get over the shock value and the morals (or lack thereof), you feel guilty for having watched and laughed at what flickered past your eyes for two hours. That guilty feeling is what makes you a real human being and not a cartoon like those in this interesting character study.
4 years 6 months ago
george4mon's avatar


it reminded me a lot of the king of comedy. a great performance by jake gyllenhaal, and a brilliant ending. highly recommended.
4 years 5 months ago
Joschi's avatar


This could have been an excellent parody of sorts, if it weren't for the the seriousness that proclaims the (local) media business will do anything for ratings and characters such as portrayed here will be cherished by such an environment.

However, if you enjoy a good ride with explosions and unmotivated psycho action and hoped for "American Psycho" to go all bonkers, this might be it for you.

Gyllenhaal's performance stand out, the dialogue is witty at times, but the overall timing is dull and the sudden shifts from serious social critique to parody of genre conventions and stereotypes feels awkward.

A great (and better) companion piece would be "Snake Eyes" by De Palma. De Palma is more intrested in the homosocial bonds, which in Gilroys piece are set up reversed. In Nightcrawler the bond between man and woman are broken down to the essential parts: sex against power. For Gyllenhaal men are ammunition and potential steps on the ladder to success, whereas the central female character (Rene Russo) is a source of desire, which can be possessed by domination.

Where De Palma's take played out the male-to-male bond and the transfer of power, Gilroy's film thematized the absorption and maintenance of power by force.

The movie utterly fails by attributing fun and suspense to his critique of male dominance, media saturation and spectatorship. Whenever cars explode, citizens are killed or corpses filmed, Gilroy switches from the intradiegetic camera to a more objective point of view. Gilroy himself is victim to cinematic conventions which force him to show the cruelties he tries to condemn.

The worst part is Russo's assistant who enters the screen every twenty minutes to preach about the ethics of filming victims of crime, whereto Russo usually turns to the camera and screams into the camera "I don't care about ethics! I KILLED AND ATE BAMBI'S MOM!"
4 years 6 months ago
Siskoid's avatar


Nightcrawler follows a sociopathic news gatherer played by Jake Gyllenhaal, taking us into a world we don't know a whole lot about - that of independent cameramen who scan police bands and film accidents and crime scenes to sell to the highest bidder. Paparazzi for the so-called serious news, if you will. It also work as an indictment of sensationalism, and by making its protagonist a sociopath who will go to any length to get the money shot - even staging it - it makes us question the ethics of what we, as news consumers, are shown. Not that I think news is "faked", but I've worked in communications long enough to know a lot of it is, shall we say, "posed". This extreme, for entertainment's sake, is merely a hyperbolic presentation of what's actually happening. And the more active the protagonist gets (as opposed to merely passive observer), the more the film takes the bent of an action flick. Note the great chase scene.
3 years 10 months ago
Chikamaharry's avatar


Very creepy and an eerie film. Gyllenhaal kills it. NOt sure if I would praise him as much as everybody does, but it was certainly a memorable performance. What I liked the most about this movie was the mood in the movie, and the extremely good story. It's perfectly paced, doesn't make you feel bored one second. And it just builds, and builds, and builds until the end, where it leaves you with a great action scene, and a very satisfying ending.

All in all a very good movie, probably in a top 10 2014.
4 years 5 months ago
lisou1411's avatar


A phenomenal performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, only showing that the spectrum of his acting game is inexhaustible.
4 years 5 months ago
HyliaFischer's avatar


The Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role goes to Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

No discussion needed :)
4 years 6 months ago
demagogo's avatar


good shit
1 year 1 month ago

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