By Steven Cayer, Senior Columnist
Not to be confused with the X-Men character of the same name, Nightcrawler is a movie taking place in the nightlife of Los Angeles. It focusses on one sociopathic anti-hero named Lou Bloom, who’s trying to make a name for himself any way he can, amazingly played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He starts off as a small-time thief stealing construction supplies just to get some money, until he stumbles on a slightly more legal job of freelance crime journalism.
First, he gets a cheap camera and police scanner. Then he finds a morning news director (Rene Russo) willing to buy his footage. He then hires a young man who’s desperate for money to be his assistant, played very well by Riz Ahmed. As the movie progresses, you start to see Bloom getting more and more disturbing and sociopathic.
This movie definitely wouldn’t have been as good if it wasn’t for Gyllenhaal’s career-defining performance. It reminded me of Robert De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver. He does some intense things, but is always a creepy kind of calm. The difference is that whenever Gyllenhaal smiles, you can’t help but like him, no matter what he’s doing in the scene. He has a subtle craziness about him, and his performance could get him a nomination.
My one problem with Nightcrawler is that there were a couple moments that were supposed to be funny, but the situation was so disturbing that it felt awkward to laugh. For example, some of Gyllenhaal’s dialogue is humorous just because his character is more honest and straight to the point than what we’re used to.
This movie could be thought of as a character study with a sociopathic take on the American dream. I recommend seeing this movie just to see the defining moment of Gyllenhaal’s career, and how nail-biting the ride to the end is.