Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal as unemployed loner and plant-watering obsessive Lou Bloom, stalking the streets at night, looking for a story to tell, but as he goes about his activities, but I learned early on – don’t you dare underestimate him for a moment!
After being a two-bit thief, he falls into the ‘job’ of being a ‘stringer’ after passing the police as they attend a car wreck, while a film crew, led by Joe Loder (the always reliable Bill Paxton), turn up unannounced to put their life at risk, taking a good shot, with the methodology, “If it bleeds, it leads” when it comes to selling it to a network.
Rather than attempt to look for the best price he can get for his footage, he’s obsessed with KWLA News, bringing this sort of ‘treat’ direct to his eyeballs every morning at 6am – he isn’t someone who has much requirement for sleep, you see. KWLA’s news director is the ridiculously-named Nina Romina (Rene Russo), who tells him he has a good eye for this sort of work after he gets them some gory footage of a carjacking victim who’s unlikely to survive, and she wants him to call them first, in future.
Lou Bloom soon needs an assistant, so hires young lad Rick (Four Lions‘ Riz Ahmed), and the film then follows their work together… something, about which, I don’t want to give spoilers.
Gyllenhaal gives a career-best performance as Lou Bloom, an overly-determined man who speaks scarily eloquently and clearly and who has the gift of the gab, as well as deeply haunting look in his eyes. Gyllenhaal also lost a great deal of weight for the role, and over the years he’s proved himself a dynamic and captivating actor who is easily destined as one of the all-time greats in this reviewer’s eyes.
Riz Ahmed gives great support as Lou’s young intern, Rick… and he’s in intern because Lou’s too tight to pay anyone proper wages to accompany him. Meanwhile, Rene Russo still can’t act her way out of a paper bag, as she’s always proved since I first saw her in one of my favourite films of all time, Freejack.
Nightcrawler is an easy film to review because there’s nothing to fault it, Russo excepted (as usual), and there’s glorious establishing shots of the town, and the cinematography in general.
Now, Hollywood, where the hell was Gyllenhaal’s Oscar win?? Or nomination??? At least BAFTA gave him a nomination, although there was very tough competition this year.
Nightcrawler is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and, as well as the stunning look to the film, the print is pin-sharp in bringing across the seedy underbelly of California to the big screen.
You may think that such a film doesn’t require much in the way of audio, but presented here in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, James Newton Howard‘s score is effervescent and there are split-surround FX at times when you wouldn’t expect them, making this a wonderful aural treat on top of the visuals.
When it comes to the extras, however, there’s merely an audio commentary – featuring brotherly Gilroy trio director Dan, producer Tony and editor John, plus a behind the scenes feature.
Running time: 117 minutes
Released: March 2nd 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster and Michel Litvak
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy
Music: James Newton Howard
Louis Bloom: Jake Gyllenhaal
Nina Romina: Rene Russo
Rick: Riz Ahmed
Joe Loder: Bill Paxton
KWLA Anchor Ben Waterman: Rick Chambers
KWLA Anchor Lisa Mays: Holly Hannula
Marcus Mayhem Video: James Huang
Linda: Ann Cusack
Frank Kruse: Kevin Rahm
Security Guard: Michael Papajohn
Scrapyard Owner: Marco Rodríguez
Jenny: Carolyn Gilroy
Themselves: Kent Shocknek, Pat Harvey, Sharon Tay, Rick Garcia, Bill Seward
Female Anchor: Leah Fredkin