This action-packed thriller has killer ratings but still couldn’t edge “Ouija” out of the top box office spot this weekend. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this unsettling drama set in modern day Los Angeles. Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a driven young guy desperate for work. He gets involved in crime journalism, creeping around the bustling city streets, and following police scanner calls to murders, break-ins and fires. He sells his freelance camera work to Nina (Rene Russo), the bloodthirsty director of a failing local news network. When headlines lose marketability, Bloom takes matters into his own hands and creates the news himself. “Nightcrawler” is an exciting, pulse-pounding film worthy of audience attention.
Gyllenhaal gives an exceptional performance as the creepiest sociopath since “American Pyscho.” His slick personality and subtle mannerisms really create the menace that is Lou Bloom. He extorts the people he meets to get the shots he needs and stops at nothing to be number one in the news arena. His complete lack of empathy for the people in these dangerous situations is alarming and well calculated. Gyllenhaal can probably expect a few award nominations after this performance.
The pacing of the plot is well developed and properly timed. When audiences realize what Bloom is capable of, the question becomes “What will he do next?” The soundtrack, however, makes some scenes feel like an iMovie-mastered joke. The music sets the tone for all of the action, but falls short in “Nightcrawler” with hokey guitar rifts in some scenes and Disney-like elements in others. The editing was unusual as well, creating a dream-like state for the action that didn’t resonate well with the action of the film.
“Nightcrawler” is essentially a satire piece mocking the news media’s bloodthirsty attitude toward ratings. The film dehumanizes the victims of tragic incidents and puts all the emphasis on the news marketability, much like real life. Overall, the film is a thrilling piece of action and is well deserving of its 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. It is designed to make audiences think and executes that notion flawlessly.
“Nightcrawler” is rated R for violence, including graphic images and language.