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Nightcrawler: Movie Review

Updated on January 24, 2016

“I will never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.”

This quote, spoken by the main character, Lou Bloom, captures the spirit of the film Nightcrawler. The film was released on October 31, 2014, and was written and directed by Dan Gilroy, director of movies like The Bourne Legacy and Real Steel, and Gilroy puts this piece together very nicely.

The film is about Louis Bloom, a common criminal/thief, selling things he steals, but still trying to establish business relationships with people he sells to. He quickly learns that people are untrusting of thieves and sets out to find a new business when he comes across a car accident. He notices that people are filming the accident and evidently getting paid for it. He buys himself a camcorder and a police scanner and starts filming. After a successful night, he hires a partner, Rick, and they film several scenes over a few months.

Throughout the film it becomes clear what Lou’s motivation is: money. The basic human desire to have nice things. But it is also about power; his power of manipulation is very strong as he manipulates people to do what he wants. Just the very presence of Lou on screen can make the viewer feel a bit on edge, as the way he speaks and moves is for a purpose and almost unnatural. As the movie progresses it becomes clear that he does not understand human interaction and the film plays with the idea that he learned how to speak to other people online. I think Lou may even be suffering from schizophrenia. In one scene, he sees something funny on TV, looks around the room as if someone was there, and starts laughing, which adds to the awkward style Lou has.

Awkward as he may be, he has a way of getting what he wants, whether it be through interaction with people or knowing what to do to get the best shot possible. It becomes evident that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the most money out of the night, such as getting in the way of police officers or sneaking into crime scenes. Often times I wondered if I should be rooting for Lou or not.

The film is set in Los Angeles, California, and the atmosphere is well-established. Ambient sounds like car horns and police sirens in the background make the atmosphere feel real. The lighting is dark and realistic, and I almost felt like I was there with Lou. The soundtrack was modern and intense, but it was not always needed when it was there. The cinematography was very nice, it always made sure the viewer knew what needed to be focused on while still maintaining the intense feel of the scenes.

The film really made me realize not only how far people might go in order to make some money, but also what news stations and the media in general will do to get higher ratings. The news director for the station he sells to, Nina, tells him to look for “urban crime creeping into the suburbs.” In further detail she tells him to find crime that involves a well-off, white victim, because as she sees it, nobody cares about any other victims. Rather than reporting the news, she wants to report suburban crime.

This movie is very well pieced together with the phenomenal acting by Gylenhaal and the great production of the film altogether. If you’re a fan of independent movies or thrillers, you’ll have a great time watching this film. I would recommend this movie very highly to anybody as it gives an insight to the inner workings of local news stations and what they look for.

5 stars for Nightcrawler


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