NIGHTCRAWLER: THE MORE FEMININE GYLLENHALL SIBLING OOZES ABOUT THE BENIGHTED LA LANDSCAPE
If you are believer in the myth that only “faux’ news is deceitful and lying this isn’t the review for you. Also go fuck yourself for being a self-deluded cocksucker. If you think the shitbird hacks that work in the newsfotainment industry aren’t a slimy treacherous lying bunch of sociopaths then fuck you this isn’t the review for you and don’t have kids, the gene pool is already much too muddied for its own good. If you are easily offended by adult words and phrases such as cocksucker and motherfucker then hit the eject button NOW because this review is going to be full up with salty language due to my near pathological hatred for “news”, for “journalist” and anything to do with those lying in the tank peices of shit that work in the newsfotainment industry. You’ve been warned.
Nightcrawler is about Louis Bloom (the younger more womanly Gyllenhaal) a low-level metal thief who also happens to be a narcissistic, sociopathic psychopath or as they are called in the common parlance, a citizen of Los Angeles. Bloom is the perfect blank canvas. He hoovers info off the internet and spits it back in a weird clipped speaking manner that approximates real emotion while at the same time being totally devoid of any real feeling. Bloom has read some articles on negotiation tactics and taken business courses online and speaks in bland corporate speech and views every encounter as a negotiation. Much of his negotiating tactics involve violence and blackmail. So as you can see he is the perfect candidate to work in the dishonorable swill we call journalism.
One night on the highway Bloom stops and watches two CHP officers pull an injured woman out of a burning vehicle. As he tries to get closer to the action Bloom is pushed out of the way by Joe Loder (Bill Paxton in a small but pivotal role.) Loder is a freelance news stringer or “Nightcrawler” that listens to cop/fire scanners then goes and shoots footage to sell to the highest bidder in the local news markets. Stringers are how all news operations work. You think reporters are out there breaking stories themselves? No, they don’t. Producers BUY them and then they have the reporters fake them as their own. I’ve seen this up close and personal in Iraq, the Stan and Africa. Iraq was probably the worst one. Those scummy lying fucks almost never left the green zone unless it was to shoot some staged B roll footage that they would pass of as “I was there”. The rest of the time they stayed drunk in the hotels, screwed each other silly and dutifully lied on command. News reporters are like actors – dumb as a box of rocks, photogenic and have no soul of their own. Fucking shitbags all of them but the worst are the producers because they are smart and totally evil, but I digress.
Louis starts peppering Joe with questions about his work asks for a job and is shot down. After a round of research Louis steals an expensive mountain bike he pawns for cash, a police scanner and camcorder. Now he is in business for himself. After a rocky start and more hazing by Loder, Bloom finally manufactures his break and gets a good shot of a carjack victim bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. Having done his research Bloom takes his video to the lowest rated morning show whose female news director Nina Romina (Rene Russo) is an aging former hotshit anchor trying to hang on in a business and town that does not like aging females. Nina buys the footage and gives the absolute worst advice to an amoral psychopath about what they are looking for which is “a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.” Preferably suburban and white. The station is in the tank and Nina is desperate to raise ratings so she works out an exclusive deal with Bloom which is a mistake since he goes from recording the news to creating it by B and E and moving bodies around for better shots. Nothing surprising there since most journalists are at heart criminal cockbags.
Blooms willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed along with his no limits psychopathy and not caring about the consequences of his actions lead to greater success, money and best of all power and prestige which he leverages against everybody in the true sociopath manner. Louis Bloom is one fucked up puppy so of course he is a successful news gatherer.
Louis’ big time breakthrough is when he gets to the scene of a triple homicide before the cops, films the bodies in situ and gets the license and the faces of the hitters which sets up a third act that is so out there it crosses the line into absurd farce. This third act really dampens the strength of the movie namely how everybody involved in the news is a nut job, a scumbag and shitbird. Nina the show producer is just as much of a sociopath as Louis is, just not as self-aware and since she is older she’s also scared and easily manipulated. The show’s anchors are just puppets that Nina operates from the booth and the “truth” and ethics are just words mouthed without understanding what they mean.
I guess the big question here is if the movie is good, right? Well the cinematography is fantastic. LA looks good at night but in reality it’s an armpit of an asshole of a city. (So is most of California north of San Diego and west of the I 5 Freeway.) Ms Gyllenhaal turns in fantastic work as the unblinking twitchy violent and manipulative Louis Bloom. Maggie, er, I mean Jake, lost a bunch of weight which made him look like Batman’s Patrick Bateman which Bloom’s character acts like in many ways. Cock knocker critics liken Louis Bloom to Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver but that is a bad comparison. Bickle was a study of a man descending then coming out of a state of madness. Louis Bloom is already there and doesn’t care.
So did director/writer Dan Gilroy hit the home run that the nerds and dopey critics are claiming? No, he did not. He made a 2/3 good noirish movie about the scumbags that fabricate news out of whole cloth but the last third was so mind bogglingly asinine it hurt the movie overall. I give Nightcrawler a tepid recommendation mostly for Lady Gyllenhaal’s slightly over egged portrayal of a dangerous maniac.
As always your mileage may vary.