Movie Review: Nightcrawler

Jonathan Tapper, J1 Guest Writer

In film we consistently see main characters who we want to root for, and who we want to win, because why wouldn’t we? These likeable characters connect us to the story and make us fall for them and their decisions. But on some rare occasions we get movies where the main character is morally wrong, and we know this, yet we sit on the edge of our seats and watch them make morally wrong decisions with even more interest in the story, (ex. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.) Nightcrawler is absolutely this kind of movie, and let me tell you, I haven’t had this much fun watching a horrible person as a main character in a long time.
In Nightcrawler, ““Los Angeles denizen Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) survives by scavenging and petty theft. He stumbles into a new career as a cameraman and — armed with a camcorder and police scanner — begins nocturnal forays across the city in search of shocking and grisly crimes. When he catches the eye of a shopworn news director (Rene Russo) who welcomes the chance to raise her station’s ratings, Louis goes to increasingly greater lengths to catch the money shot.” (Rotten Tomatoes.)
Despite the dark topic and deeply disturbing performance by Gyllenhaal, we can somehow still find humor in the pure shock of just how awful of a person our main character is. This gives us a razor sharp contrast between humor and disturbing drama that keeps us laughing and cringing the whole way through. This movie is one of my favorite performances by Gyllenhaal, as he transforms himself into a sociopath who has no empathy for anyone around him. We get to see the different dark, disturbing sides of Louis Bloom, as he manipulates, tricks, and hurts the people around him.
The slick and fast-paced storyline keeps us invested and on the edge of our seats the whole time, waiting for whatever atrocities Louis will commit next. As the film goes on, we get to see our main character grow more and more sinister, as he starts making bigger and bolder decisions, this makes for unpredictability that is unlike any other film I’ve seen.
With its dark, cynical plotline, slick and fast-paced style, and killer performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, this is a movie you don’t want to miss.