Monday, November 3, 2014
Movie Review: "Nightcrawler" (2014)
If it bleeds, it leads.
This is not only a substantial quote from "Nightcrawler" but is also one of the biggest ideas pushed upon young journalists these days. In a world where news is readily available at people's' finger tips, the newspaper is in the slow process of dying and you can find out any information you need with a simple Google search, you need something of substance and shock to grab the viewer's attention.
Nobody cares about the headline "Dog bites man." But if it suddenly became "Man bites dog," then you've not only got a story, but people will care about what you have to say.
In a way, this is the sad reality what we live in. We've been so desensitized to violence, scandal and vulgar activities that we crave it. We want to see the terrible things that happen to people, that's why news coverage will so often have violent crimes as their top stories.
This is the reality that "Nightcrawler" thrives in. In their world, the only way to make a living is to look out only for yourself and be willing to compromise your morals and ethics. As far as "Nightcrawler" and Jake Gyllenhaal are concerned, the idea of the "American Dream" is out there, but only to those who are willing to go out and look for it and extinguish anyone who gets in their way.
"If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket." The motto of our protagonist, Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal).
Bloom is a hard-working individual, with ambition and a drive to succeed (his own words, not mine). The problem is that no one is willing to hire him, due to a criminal background. After he witnesses an accident on the freeway and a group of cameramen swoop down on it, Bloom decides to go freelance and use his "talents" to make a name for himself by filming breaking stories and selling the footage to a lowly news station that eats up these types of tragic events.
"Nightcrawler" lives very much in the same realm as "Gone Girl" in that it is gritty, unsettling, irresistible and that people are expendable if you can achieve your goals. To someone like Bloom, the people that he films are not living creatures. They are merely pawns to advance him further in life. He tapes all sorts of gruesome accidents and attacks, yet never once does he show any sign of sympathy or remorse for selling out their pain. To him, it is all part of the job.
Much like Jordan Belfort in "The Wolf Of Wall Street," Louis Bloom lives in his own made-up world where his outstanding work ethic and no-back-down approach to bargaining puts him at the top of his class, but personally believes he is above everyone else and that anyone who would not do what he does is weak and will live in poverty for the rest of their lives.
This makes Bloom a scumbag of the highest order. But you cannot take your eyes off of him.
Part of this is because of Gyllenhaal's performance and how he exudes dominance when making a deal, yet being so weak and doughy-eyed when doing anything else. You want to slap him, but you also want to see what he'll do next.
But another reason is how logical and orderly Bloom handles everything. To him, it's about getting the money and growing as a business to make more money. Do what is needed to be done, as long as that will help the business ascend. There is a creepy truth underlying throughout this film and makes Bloom's actions somewhat justified.
By the end of the film, you will hate Louis Bloom, but you cannot fault him for what he does.
"Nightcrawler" is a character study on a man who wants nothing more than to be successful in a world that is unforgiving and uncaring. It is unnerving, gripping and hard to watch at times, but always contemplative. If you loved "Gone Girl," then you will enjoy "Nightcrawler" and then some.
Final Grade: A