Sure it shows up the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles crime journalism, but only one man could have made that look creepier than it already is.
I’ll try and keep this review short. Taut, actually, like the film.
Visually, Nightcrawler looks like the love-child of Martin Scorcese’s epic Taxi Driver and Nicolas Winding Refn’s breakthrough Drive. And anything that arrives as a combination of those two films has to be BRILLIANT. I doff the first hat then, to Robert Elswit, the cinematographer.
The background score by James Newton Howard is spine-chilling, to say the least. He makes Los Angeles seem like some kind of a debauched Chinatown (yes, similar to Polanksi’s). There isn’t a single positive note in the music he plays, except maybe for the protagonist. To him I doff my second hat.
Did I say ‘protagonist’ earlier? Louis ‘Lou’ Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is anything but. He’s more like a full-blown antagonist. He is slimy. He is sleazy. He will probably sell his mother as a news item to gain fame. And yes, he’s the cog around which the story revolves – life as a freelance reporter in the Los Angeles crime journalism scene. He lives life by this one maxim, which he utters during the film – to win the lottery, you gotta make the money to buy a ticket.
Revealing anything more would be a disservice to the movie. But I can say one thing for sure – Lou Bloom is probably the creepiest Hollywood antagonist since… Count Dracula or Hannibal Lecter? Sure, he won’t drink your blood or eat your flesh, but he’ll make it tremble with fear. And that’s the third and final hat I’m doffing – to Jake Gyllenhaal. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you one of the frontrunners for the Best Actor Academy Award.
I’m not saying anything else. Go watch this cracker of a film yourselves and be comforted by the thought that people like Lou Bloom exist – they’re probably living next door. And he likes the night time – because the city shines brightest at night.