Nightcrawler Movie Review

A nightcrawler, explaining to be an earthworm used as fish bait. That doesn’t strike you as especially threatening. Lou Bloom, the focus of Dan Gilroy’s intelligent, semi-profound new thriller, is no squirming victim. He’s a predator and a parasite, a bottom feeder who will find you when you’re at your most vulnerable and bite you while taking your photo. Nightcrawler’s cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Riz Ahmed in leading roles.  

Nightcrawler movie poster

Not your ordinary Nightcrawler

Lou is a freelance news cameraman who captures video of weeping widows, home invasion casualties, and human roadkill for Los Angeles TV stations. He is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who has the smile of a Boy Scout laced with lunacy. He’s the TMZ version of the original Paparazzo from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

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The obsession with gore for Nightcrawler

Lou, who lives alone in a small flat, has a dream that gradually becomes an obsession. He sets out to corner the market after learning that local television stations will pay high money for films of accidents, fires, and crime scenes – the bloodier, the better. He races around the nocturnal streets with a police scanner and a cheap video camera, seeking gruesome pictures he can sell.

A partner adds up!

Lou battles with rivals and recruits a wide-eyed side partner (Riz Ahmed) as his firm grows, all the while justifying himself in management and self-help lingo. He is a quick study, and his amoral enthusiasm propels him from eager voyeur to something far worse. His sincere faith in himself is both amusing and disconcerting, and his utter disregard for ethical limits provides for some rather naughty entertainment. But that’s all there is to it. “Nightcrawler” is a sleek, superficial film that, like Lou himself, aspires to be more.

Nightcrawler – A modest Urban Thriller

Aside from its psychological depth, Nightcrawler works well as a short thriller, with cinematographer Robert Elswit giving the city night a chilly, metallic shine.

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Final verdict

In its clammy, overdone way, “Nightcrawler” is a modest and nicely produced urban thriller, intriguing and enjoyable. While Mr. Gyllenhaal’s portrayal isn’t particularly convincing, it is methodical and precise in its creepiness, and Mr. Gilroy keeps the audience on edge, half cheering for Lou to succeed and partly dreading what he will do next.

Watch the trailer here:

Is Nightcrawler available on Netflix?

Nightcrawler is available on Netflix. Click here to watch the movie.