THE CITY SHINES BRIGHTEST AT NIGHT.
After watching stringers shooting a car crash in L.A. one night, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets a camcorder and starts learning their line of work; his lack of conscience is a big help. Writer Dan Gilroy’s directing debut is pretty one-sided when it comes to depicting the media, but that environment is nevertheless a perfect starting point for his engrossing portrait of a lonely, sociopathic “nightcrawler”. As played by a brilliantly creepy Gyllenhaal, Louis Bloom will remind audiences of Robert De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver (1976). Watching him coldly play by his set of rules, lifted from self-help books, is chilling. Very dark, funny at times, with a great supporting effort by Rene Russo.
2014-U.S. 117 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak. Written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (Louis Bloom), Rene Russo (Nina Romina), Riz Ahmed (Rick Carey), Bill Paxton, Ann Cusack, Kevin Rahm.
Trivia: Gilroy and Russo are married in real life; co-producer Tony Gilroy is Dan’s brother.
Last word: “As much as I like satire, I did not want this to become a satire. The tremendous thing of Jake’s performance is that if he takes one step too far one way, it becomes a sociopath study or a psychopath study, and I’m not interested in that. It’s just too reductive. If he takes a step another way, it becomes satire. It becomes, ‘Oh, this is an amusing, dark, violent film,’ and I didn’t want that, either. Jake makes you understand that Lou is feral. He’s unencumbered by human emotion and conscience.” (Gilroy, Film Comment)