Money makes the world go round, or so the saying goes and that is true for Lou Bloom’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) world. Dugout from the murky world of LA, Gyllenhaal’s character loves money and is happy requiring it through less than conventional methods. In fact, one of the things that is so eye catching about Nightcrawler is the fact that its storyline is so removed from what we know of as normal life; showing the audience the sinister world of accident and emergency footage gathering.
Gyllenhaal plays a nightcrawler, who chases gory crime and accidents across the seedy world of LA and then sells it to news networks (‘if it bleeds it leads’) with the aim of making money from other peoples’ misfortune.
Scheming and sinister, Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of the sociopathic Bloom is next to flawless and will rocket to the top of his career performances. Gyllenhaal’s attention to detail whilst preparing for a role (he lost three stone in weight) is easy to see in Bloom’s character who is willing to blackmail and pervert the course of justice to gain the biggest buck possible.
The film only shows daylight once or twice, with the rest, as its name suggests, being filmed at night. The artificial lights on the LA streets create an uneasy environment through which the perverted plot really gets going. With suspense in spades this film does thrill, but the middle section is really where the engine truly engages and the audience will become most disturbed.
Whilst the storyline is good, the film centres on the performance given by Gyllenhaal, who increases his abhorrent nature as the plot continues. The film never introduces a ‘hero’ character however, which generates the clever trick of inducing the sense of being trapped within the world presented on the big screen.
Without a release of tension the film will disturb audiences from beginning to end. Gyllenhaal is the real vehicle in the film however, with an unforgettable performance.