Monday, 27 October 2014

Nightcrawler - review

In Taxi Driver, while driving up and down the streets Travis Bickle remarks that "All the animals come out at night" and that statement is certainly true of Nightcrawler although one might not expect so many animals to be embodied within one human being.

For Jake Gyllenhaal's Louis Bloom is part shark, snake, worm, wolf and vulture.

This is a man who takes up a profession filming crime scenes to sell to news outlets and is constantly on the lookout, sniffing for blood, ready to slither and worm his way into any situation he can turn to his advantage before picking at the bodies and remains for his own sustenance.

He really is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Lou Bloom still possesses Gyllenhaal's baby blue eyes and disarming smile but his gaunt appearance and motivational business speeches make him look and sound like a sociopath who grew up reading Richard Branson's autobiography and would kick his mother down the stairs if it got him ahead in life... hmmm, almost makes him perfect for The Apprentice.

Almost by accident he stumbles head-on into the world of freelance crime journalism.
As a cameraman (played by a sleazy Bill Paxton) tells him "If it bleeds, it leads" and soon he is out searching the streets for images of destruction, despair and death that he can sell to the network news.

It is a dark satire about the media's and our own fascination with the macabre. That car crash television mentality where we see some horrific yet cannot turn away. Witness the erotic undertones to the scene where Rene Russo's news director tells Bloom she really wants his footage and demands that he give it to her.
At its core is that base level of Schadenfreude, taking pleasure in other people's pain and celebrating that you are alive and others are not.

Network prophesied this coming all the way back in 1976 and it couldn't have been more accurate.

Watching Lou Bloom ascend his crooked ladder and achieve his own twisted version of the American Dream, or is that the American Nightmare?

It is a film that will make you feel like you need a shower after seeing it but it feels really good while you are watching it, especially due to the fantastic cinematography by Robert Elswit who makes this L.A. feel like the same world that is home to Ryan Gosling's mysterious Driver in Drive or Elijah Wood's Frank in Maniac.

If you want to win the lottery, you need to make the money to buy a ticket. And writer-director Dan Gilroy, Gyllenhaal and audiences have all won the jackpot with Nightcrawler.

5 stars

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