Nightcrawler (2014)


Pros
  • Jake Gyllenhaal is electric! Probably my favorite acting role of the year, simply spectacular
  • His character is so devilishly creepy and manipulative, it's brilliant
  • The makeup effects and commitment from Jake (lost 20 pounds for the role) totally add to his creepy demeanor, constantly has bug eyes, which are surrounded by the darkness of his eye sockets
  • The plot at the center of the film is a dark and twisted take on our media obsessed society
  • The way he speaks with such clarity and knowledge of just about any subject makes him so much more intense and intimidating as a person
  • It also signifies how much information truly is on the internet, where anyone can find out about anyone or anything, no one is safe and it's scary
  • Great to see his apartment feature nothing but the bare minimum of accessories & decorations and when the interior is shown, it almost always features the television at the center of the frame (signifying its importance to Lou, his only true companion)
  • A brief glimpse of weakness/nervousness when he films a triple homicide and drives by the police and you can see sweat all over his face (a moment of vulnerability in a sense)
  • There is a brilliant scene where the camera is shot behind the shoulders of two characters, who are watching the final film segment and its looks like they're simply watching a movie
  • Another amazing scene where the camera is shown from the perspective of Bill Paxton's character, it slowly pans down from Lou's camera which is filming the scene, to his cold, emotionless face.....it's amazing!
  • The beauty of the film isn't the violence and action that catches our eyes, but the character of Lou who is captivating to watch as he strives to achieve greatness

Cons
  • Riz Ahmed, who plays his employee/sidekick in the film, seemed too over the top for me, he was too obvious with his stuttering and uneasiness
  • His competition gets taken out with little to no real payoff, an abrupt side story that ends quickly
  • As much as I typically hate police procedurals, I would have liked to see a tad bit more police involvement, having them nipping at his heels for added tension
  • The cardinal sin of the movie is without question its final minutes, a very abrupt and disappointing ending

Score: 9/10

Nightcrawler is a brilliant movie with a strong premise that is led by a standout performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. I cannot stress enough the impact and intensity from Jake Gyllenhaal, his character Lou is terrifying but not in a directly violent way, but in a way that he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals no matter what the obstacle. He is manipulative and in a sense, a genius, and that is what makes him so frightening, he's the smartest guy in the room. I loved watching him start small and then climb his way to the top by using people who are nothing more than pawns in his grand scheme of things. Aside from Lou, the plot, is genius, it speaks volumes about today's society and our obsession with violence and media. It basically portrays the media as attention whores who will do anything for a leading story and television ratings. They lack both morals & compassion and exploit people at their most vulnerable. An industry perfectly fit for the cold and emotionless Lou, who is willing to take things one step further.

But even with all these shining aspects of the film, there is one glaring problem, the abrupt ending. It wrapped up too neat and quick, it could have been either a happy ending or a dark ending for all I care, but something that would have featured more substance and story. It left the viewer with more questions and story to be told, but instead it chose to skip over all that and move on (taking the easy way out in a sense). The movie is 117 minutes long, which certainly isn't 'long', but it could have added an additional 30 minutes of story for a solid conclusion and I would have had no problem with that.

Nightcrawler is one of the best movies of the year, regardless of its shortcomings. Jake Gyllenhaal has come a very long way and I absolutely love the roles he has been taking recently (especially this one in particular), hopefully, he receives an Oscar nomination!