Friday, March 24, 2017

Nightcrawler Review

Nightcrawler, 3/24/17, 4 Stars.
Whoah, Fox gave Nightcrawler his own movie? Oh wait, this isn’t an X-Men movie, it’s a crime thriller. Anyway, we open up by meeting Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a petty thief making money by stealing stuff and selling it, but only for himself, so he’s no Robin Hood. In fact, he doesn’t do anything as well meaning as Robin Hood. Anyway, after bargaining for a higher pay (and failing) he drives around until he sees an active crime scene and a pair of stringers film police pulling a woman out of a car crash. When one of the duo (Bill Paxton) reveals he’s selling it to local news stations to use on air, Lou develops an ambition to boldly do what these guys do, and what follows is his machiavellian quest to be the very best stringer that no one ever was. We waste no time getting into the independent news chaser story, which makes sense from the discovery of this being a thing to the climactic “in over his head” climax. I’m going to be honest, the character of Lou Bloom is not very well developed, though we all have aspirations we should be careful not to choke on. In fact, you kind of grow to dislike Lou, which I think is the point of the movie, given the fact that he and his business partner Rick (Riz Ahmed) run around filming crime scenes and anything the police show up at to sell to a local news station. You really grow to dislike him because he’s a pain to Nina (Rene Russo), the woman who runs the station Lou sells to, to the point he gets creepy on her, and I know we all have aspirations, but this guy crosses the line to the point where he’s essentially a serial killer with a camera and a temper. It’s also seen in the way he treats Rick: horribly. He’s just relentless, thankless, and just plain rude to the guy who gives his time to help make these shenanigans possible. He’s not very relatable in this sense, but Rick serves as the entry point for the audience, and the guy says what’s on most viewer’s minds: “What the hell’s he doing?” He and everybody else get no real development, but for the relatability factor, I’ll recognize him as the eyes of the audience. Nightcrawler also has this dark and gritty feel to it that just feels raw and believable, and everything we see advances the plot and speaks to the character of Lou Bloom and his insanity. Another flaw I’d like to point out though, is the vast levels of profanity. Was it really that necessary? It helps it feel raw, but I felt they could have toned down the language and made this accessible to younger audiences who should probably see this to see what media has become today: a scary, unpredictable force that brutally sticks to its guns in the face of being wrong. Before I go, I just wanna say James Newton Howard’s score was a nice movie score, just getting that out there to end on a positive note. So now, I can say that Nightcrawler is a hard-hitting tale of modern media and the world of TV news in the age of the Internet, led by a psychotic cameraman who wants to be the very best at it for no real reason, seen through the eyes of a sane guy who just needs to make some money, and tells it like it is, unlike news media today.

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