Jake Gyllenhaal in what is yet another fine performance.

I’ve hammered on about it in another review of the film Prisoners but damn do I love watching Gyllenhaal take on a new and challenging role, and with Nightcrawler we definitely get just that. This film is a fantastic character study of a disturbing sociopath and it does so by shining a camera on a topic most audiences wouldn’t be privy towards.

Nightcrawler is all about the world of shooting horrifying and graphical images of real-life incidents for local news television updates. It’s about the people who are behind the camera of what you see on television and those that are responsible for putting themselves out there to capture what you don’t want to see but can’t help but look. And just like that very notion, this film is a perfect example of being captivated by something that you normally wouldn’t be but also something that you know you shouldn’t be.

This film pits the issue of what is allowed to be filmed and shown on television alongside the question of whether you can do so without feeling any sense of moral or ethical burdens. For most, and just like myself, I’d side on the traditional and conservative side. But for others that we come to watch Nightcrawler, it’s just another opportunity to make it into primetime.

A moral dilemma like this is examined by Gyllenhaal’s character Louis Bloom, who is one of these people that records violent events in the city of Los Angeles and sells it to the news. But Nightcrawler’s story goes deeper into psychic of what makes Louis Bloom tic and why he often crosses over those traditional lines of ethics, to simply profit off those that are so unfortunate. All of which, wouldn’t come to fruition if it weren’t for how great Gyllenhaal’s performance is. In Louis Bloom, he installed a new set of creepy quirks and traits, from the way he interacted with other characters to even just how he was by himself. From the tone and delivery of his dialogue to the way he looked and moved, everything was intended to create an unsettling portfolio of a sociopath, which worked fantastically and I had a blast watching him every time he was on screen, which thankfully was a lot.

The compliments for creating such a fun and interesting character to observe ultimately come down to the great script by writer and director Dan Gilroy. His discovery of what is called the “stringer” profession and the idea to develop it to a psychological drama setting, is an aspect I’m glad we got to be introduced to. I feel like, for whatever reason, Nightcrawler is akin to a sleeper hit, as it isn’t really discussed or brought up in conversation. Although it went onto be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards and thankfully grossed a nice $50 million from an $8 million budget.

Nightcrawler is one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best films and a greatly entertaining character study. It’s something original and fresh but also dark and disturbing enough to make a great film. It isn’t perfect but it’s positives far outweigh the negatives and I’d recommend seeing this out on Netflix if you get the chance, because it’s one of those hidden gems that need a spotlight on it. So, check it out when you can.


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