Crime journalism is a cutthroat business. Here, if you aren’t the first one to report a crime, then you might as well not report it at all. From over-sentimentalization of daily news to newsroom politics, there is nothing we haven’t already seen before. But with Nightcrawler, the crime-thriller genre gets a breath of fresh air. The film tells the story of a man who trades his moral integrity for a couple of extra bucks and wreaks havoc on the streets of modern-day L.A.
A Nightcrawler, as defined in this film, is a person who monitors the police radio frequency hoping to hear about the occurrence of a crime. Once the Nightcrawler reaches the scene, he hopes he is the first one to record the gruesome outcome on film, which he can then sell to a TV news channel for some cash. Lou Bloom (Jake Gylenhall), a brazen thief, looks at this trade as a lucrative business opportunity. He even hires an intern, Rick (Riz Ahmed), who helps him navigate to the crime scene faster. Lou, however, is a sociopath who will stoop to any level to make sure he gets the best footage of dead bodies at the crime scene. His crazy endeavors are further instigated by Nina (Rene Russo), who runs a local TV news station.
In Lou Bloom, writer-director Dan Gilroy serves up a whole new bag of crazy. He has pale skin with sunken cheeks and long, matted hair. He hardly sleeps and prowls at night. When everyone is busy going about their business, he eerily stares and tries to make small talk. You can see the unflinching and manipulative look in his eyes. They convey that he has decided what he must do, and everything else can go to hell. Lou also carries a permanent smirk on his face, which though off-putting, reminds us of the things he is capable of doing. Even as a sole spectator.
It is evident that Gylenhall has put his heart and soul into the film. He efficiently carries the movie on his shoulders, with help from Russo and Ahmed. The brilliant pace of the film and the spectacular camera work make Nightcrawler an intense viewing experience. The scenes and the dialogues are executed with such finesse, it is hard to believe that this is Gilroy’s first film as a director. It is also noteworthy that the movie showcases how the media has completely sacrificed its morality for TRPs.
Why should you watch this film?
There aren’t a lot of movies like Nightcrawler out there. The concept is fresh, the characters are well-etched and the pacing is rather perfect. The best thing about the movie is the fact that it can be watched time and again, and it will still manage to haunt you afterwards.