Lazy Movie Review: Nightcrawler

nightcrawler 1

Premise:  Lou Bloom (played by Jake [looking up correct spelling on Google] Gyllenhaal) is a sociopath and a night owl living in LA.  Through creepy behavior, he finds himself interested in filming crime and traffic accidents for local news stations, who are willing to pay him large amounts of money for footage that only he is willing to obtain; by breaking into crime scenes and getting way closer than a normal person would.  This is mainly a movie about finding success in being unapologetically driven in nature, to the point where you have no boundaries.  Yes, you can be good at what you do, but are you willing to go as far as that guy did?  Probably not.  That’s why you’re a normal person.  The other guy; *that’s* Lou Bloom.  You should probably not attempt to get in his way.

 

Pros:

-More of a performance-heavy film than anything else, and Jake Gyllenhaal (phew) knocks it out of the park.  I suppose he’s always been a creepy, stare-too-much-at-things weirdo, but now he’s taken his lifetime of staring at things knowledge and created his creepy masterpiece.  There was one moment where, without spoiling anything, he shows up to the scene of an accident and the victim looks up from his gurney, and sees a big camera pointing at him against the night sky, and then the (film) camera pans down and it’s just this huge closeup of Jake Gyllenhaal’s emotionless face, his eyes about as wide as they’ve ever been, and I was just like , “YUP, I’M SOLD ON THIS ENTIRE CONCEPT”.  But even apart from the creepy staring, he plays sociopathic go-getter better than you could imagine.  A guy who spends all day reading internet articles, then quoting them back to whoever is willing to listen ad nauseam; Gyllenhaal’s off-putting smiles and friendly attitude he uses to mask his disturbing intentions make me want him to win some accolades for the role, if only Keaton’s Birdman wasn’t just slightly superior.

-The character of Lou Bloom was also kind of unique in the sense that he didn’t really have a character arc.  If anything, the character is just an escalating line, shooting higher and higher up as he is rewarded for his terrible behavior.  Why would Bloom bother to change if his immorality is making him successful?  It just takes the right amount of hyper-focused deviancy to be able to cover up his tracks.  But I loved watching Bloom do anything.  I loved watching him watering his plants, eating breakfast, just walking down the street.  Over the course of the story’s duration, he accomplishes and moves up the ranking so fast that I can’t help but wonder what the hell Bloom was doing in the 30 years before the plot of this movie kicked in.  How can a guy who latches on to things so intensely have possibly functioned in society for as long as he has without doing it before?  So what was he doing before?  Even just in the two weeks leading up to the story, what was he doing with himself?  This is a guy who leads an ultra bizarre life every single day, and it’s almost sad that we can’t experience more of it.  In a just world, Lou Bloom will eventually join the ranks of cult “villain” protagonists along the lines of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, and Ryan Gosling from Drive.  Bloom deserves it.  HE WORKS HARDER THAN ANY OTHER ANTIHERO OUT THERE.

-THEN, if you move aside the performance and the character, you get a pretty good take on local news.  The quote of the movie that everybody has been eating up is “If it bleeds, it leads.”  A sad truth for how we choose to observe our news.  We’d rather look at a glorious mess and the news producers would rather instill us with unwarranted fear of death so that we keep coming back for the followup.  Oddly enough, as contrary as I may want to believe that deep in my brain’s heart I’m not that same way, lo and behold, I was excited every time Bloom got to film a new accident.  Sort of a meta example of the audience sucking up the film’s representation of the local news in the way we suck up in reality.  Maybe we do like watching the bodies pile up, as long as it’s from the comfort of a distant, secure, cozy seat?  #deep  #wheresthefartjokes

-Los Angeles at night is a very distinct and awesome place for a movie to take place.  It looks much better than suburban Illinois at night.  Also looks like it smells a lot less like farts.  #thereitis  #kindaforced  #notthatfunny

 

Cons:

-Deep down I had this feeling like someone else could have made this exact same story with a less mesmerizing actor, and worse cinematography/editing, and it would be a direct-to-video forgettable film.  Sure, you could say that about a lot of films, and it’s totally not fair to say to begin with, but I’m trying to say that Gyllenhaal’s performance and some crafty filmmaking has turned what could have been a mediocre film into a fantastic one.  So, at its core, it had the base workings of a mediocre film.  I don’t know how to word this better…  …It’s not the best plot in the world, but it’s executed very nicely.  But it’s still not the best plot in the world.  You see…  uhhhhg, whatever…  …Here’s a picture of a puppy eating a flower:

nightcrawler 2

Rene Russo’s character of the desperate news producer who will sink to embarrassing lows and abandon her personal ethics for success maaaaaaaaybe wasn’t the strongest female character you could put in a film that only had one female character…  But I guess this situation could be eerily true-to-life, and she kinda got what she wanted anyway, so we can leave this filed under “tragically flawed woman”.

-Bloom uses and abuses his video interns in such comically realistic ways, with trying to teach them life lessons and exploit their basically free hard work for his gain.  It reminded me of this place I once applied for a while ago, and the guy running the place said I would have to churn out three projects a day, and the first two weeks would be an unpaid test period, and I peeked into the suite and it was just three sad-looking young people sitting in the dark not talking to each other.  I was offered the job but didn’t take it, and every couple of weeks I would see the same place posting the same job ad, because they probably just exploited people for two weeks of free work and then tossed them aside.  That was their business model.  I’m not holding anything against the film for anything regarding this, I just felt like telling that story, and it is horrible that this happens in real life.  I RELATED.  It just felt like it belonged in the “con” section more than the “pros”.

 

Final Thoughts:  At first, right after I saw Nightcrawler, I was impressed, but more teetering along the lines of “Yeaaaaah, that was pretty good, I guess.”  Now that it’s soaked in my brain for a few days, I’m realizing that it was probably a more interesting movie than most other things that get released, and I should probably take that into account.  I mean, damn, I could have watched Ouija instead.  That’s the competition.  Just thinking about the fact that Nightcrawler and Ouija are made in the same industry and released in the same theaters makes me want to give Nightcrawler a higher score on principle.

9 out of 10

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