Where does news come from? How is video from a crash that happened at four in the morning end up on the morning news? Chances are night rats called stringers will sell it to the highest buyer, with little to no experience a few of these guys are under loose contract. That’s what Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ explores, the dirty underbelly of the news media.
Upon first seeing the trailer for the films, it’s a vague thriller taking place on the dirty streets of Los Angeles. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role as seedy Louis Bloom, which brings us the Gyllenhaal we were introduced in ‘Donnie Darko.’ A cold, sociopathic character that makes the viewer feel less than comfortable for the hour and a half you get to know him. Though one doesn’t really get to know Gyllenhaal’s character, the viewer is tossed into this film with little to no back story save for the fact Lou is looking to go straight from a life of stealing chain link fence for scrap. After that the film takes liberties about how journalism and freelancing or stringing works.
Aside from that we see horrible violations of how cops and firefighters work, in one scene Bloom and another Stringer literally get in the face of a patient being worked on and almost anyone who is a first responder know this is something that would never happen. Even the regular consumer of news at home knows most stations wouldn’t show that. Though one can commend Gilroy’s research in how a newsroom works and different jobs performed by the people who make third shift news happen. Other than that severe liberties are taken by the director who also wrote the original screenplay.
The film felt entirely too long for what it was trying to do, and the viewer has time to end up bored while watching it. Few moments are thrilling but other than that the film does fall a little flat without any backstory for Bloom or anyone else in the film. Gilroy does manage to make the viewer hate Bloom and his character with his ability to detach completely from the situation and his belief in going above and beyond is really just selfish.
Rene Russo gives a stunning performance of a struggling news director, who will do anything to save her job and her ratings. Giving the sketchy Bloom a chance to sell his material to her, no matter how he got it. She forgoes all ethics due to her selfish behavior. Her character is strong and a force to be reckoned with in the newsroom.
‘Nightcrawler’ does do a good job of showing a different side to the L.A. most people know and it’s shot in a way that makes you feel too close to Bloom’s character. Even Bloom’s apartment is a reflection of who he is and how cold and detached he is from everyone else around him. Art direction does an amazing job of leaving the audience to feel his detachment from how he dresses and how his apartment even looks, his only care in the world a small plant.
This film is one that could be saved for late night HBO viewing, because spending money on seeing this is a waste of time. The film is dark and seedy, and manages to show whole different side of L.A. and the media but outside of that a lot of left to be desired. It’s an hour and a half of watching Gyllenhaal and his expertly tied man bun. Character writing leaves a lot to be desired, so save it for a night at home with a good drink.