Nightcrawler starts with a down and out guy named Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) stealing scrap metal just to maintain his sad lifestyle. While looking for any way to make a few dollars, he runs into a freelance camera crew filming an auto accident. Curious, he talks to one of the cameramen and finds that they sell their footage to the local news media.
Bloom see’s this as a good way to make money, pawns a bicycle (stolen?), and buys a cheap video camera. Bloom soon learns this is a cutthroat business with no rules where you have to be willing to try almost anything to get the footage to the TV stations first. How far these cameramen are willing to go to obtain film of breaking news that is exciting, graphic and sensational is the plot line for the entire film. The suspense peaks when Bloom gets to a crime scene ahead of the cops and finds himself making hard choices about how far he will go to be successful.
Nightcrawler would have a hard time holding up but for an exceptionally well-written script. There are also a couple of nice surprises you never saw coming, a well-conceived story, and a pretty good car chase scene.
Gyllenhaal gives an excellent performance, but as his role goes from annoying to disgusting to evil, it’s hard to have much empathy with his character. Does he get what he deserves—go to the film and find out.
My wife and I came out of the theater with me feeling we had seen a “good” movie and her calling it “OK” (which is right up there with “fine” and really means she didn’t care much for it). There are probably a lot of reasons that I liked it more than her, starting with the fact that she favors content over action and likes her movies uplifting with happy endings. In other words “she wants to enjoy’ a movie. I,however, prefer a good combination of content and action, expect a realistic, well-acted story, and want the movie to give me some sort of jolt. In other words “I want to feel a movie “and it doesn’t matter if I walk out the theater felling good or bad. In my book, the Nightcrawler was a good movie even though the persona of its main character was “creepy.”