Film Review: NIGHTCRAWLER

NIGHTCRAWLER
Written and Directed by Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is having a tough time making ends meet as a scrapper when he comes across a nightcrawler (Bill Paxton) photographing an accident scene. He immediately realizes this is the sort of career he was made for. When Paxton refuses to take him on, he goes into business for himself and hits pay dirt his first time out. His success is based on having no scruples about what he photographs and how he gets the grisly scenes he hands into a TV news show. The producer (Rene Russon) is struggling with her career and he insinuates himself into her effort by offering her goodies she can’t turn down. Just how far Bloom will go becomes the central focus of the film.

NIGHTCRAWLER both critiques and celebrates our interest in grisly crime and accident scene footage in much the way NETWORK did a generation ago. But it is also a character study of one seriously loathsome man. He is autistic, immoral, and without feeling for anything other than his houseplants. At points in the film, his creepiness got to me. But it is such an original piece of work, so well directed and acted, I was won over in the end. Lou Bloom will likely take on the iconic status of Rupert Pupkin (KING OF COMEDY) or Travis Bickle (TAXI DRIVER). And with his last three or four movie roles, Gyllenhaal has become an actor to be reckoned with.

Patti Abbott