By: Kaitlyn McKay, Columnist
In “Nightcrawler,” Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a driven, but unsettling man searching for a job, discovers a new interest in filming crime scenes and selling the footage to local news stations as a freelance cameraman. After being encouraged to continue his work by his buyer, morning news director Nina Romina (Rene Russo), each crime scene Lou visits becomes more and more exploited. Eventually it becomes clear to the viewer that Lou, and the news station that accepts his footage, are morally and ethically corrupt.
In the first ten minutes, the audience knows exactly what kind of person Lou is: a thief, liar and possibly be a sociopath. “Nightcrawler” is the type of film where everything revolves around its protagonist and everyone else is a means to an end for the protagonist to achieve his goal and Jake Gyllenhaal is creepy and unnerving as Lou.
As the film goes on, the news gets more and more corrupt and the local news station shows graphic footage like people being recovered from car crashes. By the end of the film, Lou even manages to get to a home invasion crime scene before the police and films the dead bodies. It’s fascinating to watch how far Lou will go to get the “best” footage to sell at the highest price.
However, the film does show some signs of being a directorial debut as it is screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s first. With some directing-related awkwardness in a few scenes, and an unnecessary “romance” between Lou and Nina that doesn’t add anything to the film, there is room for improvement.
“Nightcrawler” can be interpreted as a dark satire of the news, as Nina is genuinely impressed at when Lou shows her his latest, gruesome footage at the end of the film. At two-hours, “Nightcrawler” is a slow, gradual build-up that does pay off at the end, but some may not find the ending satisfying.