- 1 hr 57 min
Nightcrawler is a gripping thriller from 2014 that delivers a no-holds-barred portrayal of the gritty, violent world of crime journalism. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a driven but morally ambiguous freelance videographer who scours the streets of Los Angeles at night, hoping to capture, sell and profit from the city's grisliest crimes to media outlets.
As the film opens, Lou is presented as desperate for legitimate work, stealing and selling copper wiring to make ends meet. However, during a chance encounter with a fiery car crash he witnesses, he discovers that he can make a decent living by filming footage of violent crimes and selling them to a struggling news network.
Lou quickly proves to be a master manipulator, using his cunning wit and lack of scruples to great effect as he blurs the line between observer and participant, and gradually becomes the director of his own increasingly daring, often dangerous crime scenes. With the help of his assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed), Lou races from one emergency event to the next, filming murder scenes and car crashes to supply to a desperate news director, played by the talented Rene Russo.
As Lou climbs the ladder of success, he becomes increasingly unhinged and disturbingly unpredictable, and his fragile sense of morality begins to be exposed. His twisted ambitions culminate in the film's explosive final act, which delivers a gut-wrenching climax that is both shocking and unforgettable.
The film is directed by Dan Gilroy, who expertly captures Los Angeles at night, casting a seedy and ominous pall over the city's darker corners. His is a vision of L.A. that is almost post-apocalyptic, a place where desperate, damaged people take huge risks to distance themselves from the horrors of their reality. Gilroy's direction is sharp and hard-hitting, and he orchestrates a number of stunning set pieces throughout the film, capturing the high-octane terror of car chases and the absolute dread of violent confrontations.
Gyllenhaal is mesmerizing in the lead role, delivering a performance that is both creepy and magnetic. Lou Bloom is a fascinating character study, a man who operates outside of societal norms and is driven solely by his desire to succeed. The actor transforms himself entirely, offering up a gaunt, wide-eyed portrayal of a man who appears perpetually on the brink of an emotional breakdown.
Russo is excellent as Nina Romina, Lou's news director and the only person who seems to recognize his potential. It is through her calculating eyes that the viewer is given insight into the world of news reporting and the lengths to which journalists will go to get a lucrative exclusive story.
The supporting cast is excellent as well, particularly Bill Paxton, who plays a rival stringer to Lou. The two engage in a fascinating battle of wits, each attempting to out-scoop the other by any means necessary.
Nightcrawler is a bleak and unrelenting film that probes into the darkest corners of human nature. It is a tense and gripping thriller that offers no easy answers or resolutions, leaving its audience to grapple with the realities of the world in which Lou operates. With a career-defining performance from Gyllenhaal and expert direction from Gilroy, it is an unforgettable film that deserves to be experienced by anyone with a taste for the macabre.
Nightcrawler is a 2014 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 57 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 76.