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Film Review: Nightcrawler

Updated on April 16, 2018
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

in 2014, Dan Gilroy released Nightcrawler, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Ann Cusack, Kevin Rahm, Kathleen York, Eric Lange, Jonny Coyne, Michael Hyatt, and Michael Papajohn. The film grossed $50.3 million at the box office.


Trailer

Synopsis

Lou Bloom seeks to make a living and a name for himself by any means necessary. Acquiring a camcorder and a police scanner, he follows the police and films a series of incidents involving them in hopes of selling the tapes. Eventually, the morning news director of a local TV news station pays him for his footage and encourages him to continue his work.

Review

Nightcrawler is an interesting film, feeding off of Bloom’s character and the creepy awkwardness emanating from him. He himself is a very complex character and it becomes apparent the awkwardness is only a front for a hidden psychopathic demeanor. Bloom wants fame and fortune and will do anything if it means attaining it. At one point, he moves a body at the scene of an accident before the ambulances arrive to get a better angle and in another instance, he takes out his freelancing competitors so he can get an exclusive story.

Bloom is also good at playing people to get whatever he wants out of them. This is seen with Nina, the morning news director. She is willing to bend any and all ethical rules of journalism in order to make the news interesting and play on the fears of those watching it. However, she’s also insecure about all the aspects of her job as she's reliant on good stories and footage. Bloom knows her weaknesses, researches her entire biography and uses them to get what he wants.

The film's characterization helps solidify the notion of human depravity on both sides, show how those shooting the footage of accidents and crimes might not be at all better than the criminal element. Bloom gets to the scene of a crime before the police and clearly films the perpetrators. He knows who they are and clearly sits on it in order to manufacture news. This ends up killing and injuring multiple people, including several policemen.

Over the course of the film, Bloom takes a page out of his former competitors and acquires two news vans and an entire team. It’s certain the team members don’t really know what they’re in for when he tells them he would never ask them to do something he wouldn’t do. Viewers have seen him commit a number of illegal acts throughout the story. As such, it can be assumed Bloom will eventually ask them to do something illegal as well.

Additionally, the film demonstrates that those doing what they do for the good of humanity can be powerless at times. A detective knows Bloom sat on the footage, yet she is unable to do anything about it because she has no proof. Several in the news station voice their disgust in using much of Bloom’s footage, but they don’t have any real power and can’t stop it from airing.

3 stars for Nightcrawler

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Awards & Recognitions

bold indicates reception of award/recognition

AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Rene Russo)

Academy Awards

  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Saturn Awards

  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Thriller Film

AFI Awards, USA

  • Movie of the Year

Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

American Cinema Editors, USA Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Dramatic

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design Award - Contemporary Film

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best First Film
  • Best Film

Australian Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best International Film (English Language)

Australian Film Institute Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts International Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Motion Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Rene Russo)
  • Best Original Screenplay

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Leading Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Gene Russo)
  • Best Editing
  • Best Original Screenplay

Black Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Eighth Place - Top Ten Films

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

  • Best New Filmmaker

Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Original Screenplay

California on Location Awards

  • Location team of the Year - Independent Feature Film

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards

  • Actor of the Year (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Second Place - Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Picture

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Most Promising Filmmaker (Dan Gilroy)

Cinema Bloggers Awards, Portugal

  • Best Actor - International Competition (Jake Gyllenhaal)

CinEuphoria Awards

  • Best Actor - International Competition (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Criticos de Cinema Online Portugueses Awards

  • Best First Feature
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Rene Russo)
  • Best Original Screenplay

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Denver Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Detroit Film Critic Society, US Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Florida Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Second Place - Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association Dorian Awards

  • Film Performance of the Year - Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Georgia Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Gold Derby Awards

  • Lead Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Motion Picture
  • Original Screenplay)


Golden Schmoes Award

  • Second Place - Best Actor of the Year
  • Best Screenplay of the Year
  • Best Supporting Actress of the Year (Rene Russo)
  • Favorite Movie Poster of the Year
  • Best Line of the Year ("My motto is if you want to win the lottery, you've got to make money to get a ticket")

Gotham Awards

  • Audience Award
  • Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
  • Gotham Independent Film Award - Breakthrough Actor (Riz Ahmed)

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Artisan aWards

  • Best Contemporary Makeup - Feature Films

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Screenplay

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Independent Spirit Awards

  • Best Screenplay
  • Best First Feature
  • Best Editing
  • Best Male Lead (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Male (Riz Ahmed)

Indiewire Critics' Poll Awards

  • Second Place - Best Lead Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Second Place - Best First Feature
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Screenplay (Dan Gilroy)

International Cinephile Society Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Third Place - Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Third Place - Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Internet Film Critic Society Awards

  • Best Film

Irish Film and Television Awards

  • Best International Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Italian Online Movie Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Editing

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Awards

  • Best Picture

Location Managers Guild Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement Award - Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Film

London Critics Circle Film ALFS Awards

  • Film of the Year
  • Actor of the Year (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Supporting Actor of the Year (Riz Ahmed)
  • Screenwriter of the Year (Dan Gilroy)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

  • Second Place - Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

National Board of Review, USA Awards

  • Top Ten Films

National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA

  • Third Place - Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Nevada Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Director
  • Best Screenplay

New York Film Critics, Online Awards

  • Best Debut as Director

North Carolina Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

North Texas Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Debut Feature
  • Best Film

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Feature Debut
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Breakthrough Performance - Male (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Casting
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Cinematography

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards

  • Directors to Watch (Dan Gilroy)

PGA Awards

  • Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Phoenix Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Mystery or Thriller Film
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Score
  • Best Supporting Actor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Editing

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Screenplay, Original
  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Screenwriters Choice Awards, Online Screenplay Competition

  • Best Original Screenplay

Seattle Film Critics Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Jake Gyllenhaal)

SESC Film Festival, Brazil Awards

  • Critics Award - Best Foreign Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture

St. Louis Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Cinematography

Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse Award

  • Best Film

Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

  • Second Place - Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Second Place - Best First Feature

Utah Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Village Voice Film Poll Awards

  • Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
  • Second Place - Best First Feature
  • Third Place - Best Screenplay
  • Best Supporting Actor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo)

Writers Guild of America, USA Awards

  • Best Original Screenplay

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