I’ll tell you; I really hate those that film concerts on their smart phones or tablets. Not only to they obstruct the views from others trying to capture the event with memories, but the filmed footage can never do the outing any justice and will likely never be viewed again. Focusing on capturing the event more or less creates a new intention. Rather then going to listen to the music and talking about what the songs meant or even the artist themselves, the idea now is to bring proof that you were there; to say that you attended the Nicki Minaj rather then enjoyed and had fun at it.
I compare those that film concerts in whole similar to the camera crews hired by studios to capture the grittiest of news. For cases like a mass murder, it means trying to find footage of the victims or at least something that was affected by the weapon used. For something unimportant like a DUI, it might amount to shooting the poor sap getting arrested and making a buffoon of him later on. The television studios that show this stuff know that people will watch because they know that most are addicted to anything grizzly happening in their part of town, even if it has nothing to do with them. Nightcrawler examines one such camera guy who takes advantage of the situation.
Louis Bloom (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is a sociopath who doesn’t work, but makes money as a thief. He’s well read as he shows in one scene where he talks to a construction guy about a job and what he can offer him. Louis is turned away, not aware that he probably scared the guy more them impressed him. On his way home, he witnesses a car crash along with a camera guy, Joe Loder (played by Bill Paxton) shooting the mess.
Inspired, Louis buys a camera and a police scanner to get himself in the business. Though he comes to several dead ends, he eventually captures something worthwhile enough for a local TV station to notice. A morning news director, Nina (played by Rene Russo) buys the footage and tells Louis to continue. This gets him to hire an intern, Rick, and starts turning to altering the crime scene to make things more interesting. Nobody else sees Louis doing his dirty deeds, so he is able to become a hit for the station. Rick is the only one in on Louis’ actions and might be the only one to turn the tables.
Nightcrawler fits right alongside Network and The Truman Show on great movies about the dark side of television. What got me was that it made clear that media companies may know us a bit better then we know. They know we follow patterns on what time we tune in and what to expect. Nightcrawler exposes what people really want; something important to talk about at work, whether it’s really a big deal or not.
Jake Gyllenhaal has always been kind of a filler actor; a guy that can do a good reading, but has never managed to surprise me. He finally does here, giving a performance that’s not only worthy of an Oscar, but may be setting himself a place in the scariest characters on screen. Like Norman Bates or Alex DeLarge, Gyllenhaal delivers a character that is absolutely terrifying because we can never understand what goes through his head. There’s never any sympathy for those he invades; he shoots and makes money. The nights of Los Angeles are the perfect backdrop for this setting, filling our characters with unnatural lighting and ideas.
I’ll give this five camera flashes out of five. Nightcrawler is seedy, sleazy, and a great thriller for those that want to see something held besides a gun. How about a camera?