Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Renee Russo , Riz Ahmed
Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Duration: 1 hr 57 mins
Rating: * * * *
Directed by writer turned director Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler is the kind of film that you are not quite where it is heading. It is an engaging ride throughout but when the end credits start rolling, you leave your seat rather reluctantly because it gives so much food for thought.
A reflection of the present times when television and their ‘breaking news’ have become a part and parcel of our lives Nightcrawler is an excellent study about a man who wants to deliver at all costs. What I particularly liked about the screenplay is the fact that it is as much of a character study of the man in question as it is a commentary on today’s world.
Fortunately, in India crime stories on television have not taken the kind of centre stage as it seems to have in America. Of course, we have our own brand of sensationalism.
You can’t call Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal, remarkable performance) a good for nothing. He is an unemployed bloke and a thief for whom the means are more important than the method. He sees a roadside accident one day and a free lance camera man (Bill Paxton) is filming it. It turns out that camera guy will sell the footage to anyone who pays him the green bucks.
Interested by the idea, Louis buys a camera and a police radio scanner in order to get to the scene of the crime and film it first. He gets lucky and manages to sell some footage to a local tv station headed by Nina (Renee Russo). Louis doesn’t care two hoots about morality or ethics when it comes to shooting footage. He hires a rookie (Riz Ahmed) who doesn’t have much of an idea about what Louis is upto. In one case, they get to the crime scene even before the police does and film a family that has just been shot.
For the news channel, as far as such footage is concerned, the more the merrier. And the gorier, the better -for them it is all about ratings and getting the news first and manipulating the viewers’ feelings.
The films starts off with a slightly slack pace but boy, it does end with a bang.
The character of Louis is most fascinating. You could so easily argue for and against his behavior –he seems to be a fair man (“Just give me a number” he says when he tells his assistant about a raise) but he also has his failings, he doesn’t know where to draw or line or rather for him, there is no such thing as a line when it comes to his work.
Jake Gyllenhaal has given a performance of a lifetime, credit should also go to the director for extracting such a performance. The actor has shown his versatility with films like Prisoners where he played a detective and in this as a rather creepy guy.
Nightcrawler is certainly one of those films that will be remembered for a long time.
Published in The Navhind Times on 9th Nov 2014