A person with a digital camera lurks within the bushes exterior a lush house in Granada Hills. A grisly triple-homicide has simply been dedicated right here. He waits for the perpetrators to escape earlier than skulking in after them. Roaming via the home along with his digital camera, he stops over a dying man, mendacity susceptible in a pool of his personal blood as he faintly gasps for air. However this man is not right here to assist. He’s right here to get footage, and make a fast buck off the carnage.
In Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy’s neo-noir thriller now on Netflix, that man is Louis “Lou” Bloom, the protagonist performed by Jake Gyllenhaal. Bloom is an formidable, fast-talking con man who rattles off faux-motivational speaking factors about entrepreneurial grit and anecdotal statistics like a robotic whose approximate data of human speech comes from a Tony Robbins self-help guide. After witnessing a contract digital camera crew filming the scene of a automotive crash, Lou is impressed to change into a stringer himself, driving round late at night time in Los Angeles to file violent crimes and accidents and promote the footage to native information stations.
After promoting his first recording (a bloodied man being resuscitated) to Nina Romina (Rene Russo), the morning information director at a neighborhood tv station, Lou hangs on her each phrase. He’s keen to be taught and much more keen to please. Nina stresses she’s excited by crime, although not all crime. “We discover our viewers are extra excited by city crime creeping into the suburbs,” she says. “What which means is a sufferer, or victims, ideally well-off and white, injured by the hands of the poor or a minority.” However above all, what Nina needs — and what Lou wants to succeed — are incidents of graphic violence that may shock her station’s audiences, play on their fears, and garner their undivided consideration. “The most effective and clearest means that I can phrase it to you Lou, to seize the spirit of what we air, is consider our newscast as a screaming lady working down the road along with her throat lower.”
Because the plot unfolds, we witness Lou thrive in his new profession path, amassing a set of fiery automotive crashes, ugly murders, and different seedy clips that he proudly labels and categorizes on his house laptop computer. The movie makes it abundantly clear that Lou’s success as a so-called “nightcrawler” is not despite his sociopathic character, however somewhat due to it. He feeds on dying and tragedy like a carrion buzzard, peeling via the darkish winding roads of Los Angeles in his crimson Dodge Challenger, prowling for his newest prey. There is no low he received’t stoop to to additional his personal goals, whether or not it’s aggressively coercing Nina into sleeping with him, lowballing his frazzled assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed), or orchestrating a competitor’s near-fatal automotive crash and filming his mangled physique on a stretcher. When Rick protests, telling him not to movie the physique as a result of he is “one in all them,” Lou counters, “Not anymore, Rick. We’re professionals. He’s a sale.” For Lou, each smile is a present of tooth, each praise is a veiled risk.
It will be improper to characterize Nightcrawler as a narrative of 1 man’s descent into depravity and horror as a result of in reality, it was by no means that far a fall for Lou to start with. If something, Nightcrawler is each an engrossing darkish thriller, full with lovely cinematography of Los Angeles and an electrifying night-time automotive chase finale, and a scathing indictment of the pernicious impression of up to date information media in shaping tales not to inform or to edify, however somewhat to exploit and dehumanize their topics. It’s a strong movie that by no means moralizes to its viewers, however somewhat compels them to take into consideration how a system that incentivizes an individual like Lou ever got here to exist within the first place.