Nightcrawler Screen 17 articles

Nightcrawler

2014

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  • An utterly feeble satire of Our Degraded Media Culture, anchored by a lead performance by Jake Gyllenhaal that, while certainly credible and enjoyable to watch, exhibits many distinct echoes of Christian Bale's turn as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

  • Nightcrawler lives by Gyllenhaal's great performance, but it dies by the limits of his character. Lou's unwavering serenity and mastery of management give him a very particular creepiness, but the effect dulls with overexposure. And apart from its character study, the film includes little else of particular novelty to focus on.

  • ...A cynical, sick-soul-of-Los-Angeles movie that announces itself as a “Medium Cool” or “Network” for the TMZ era, but doesn’t have much to say beyond the familiar, shopworn hand-wringing about shutterbugs willing to do anything to get the shot and the desensitized voyeur audience — us — that laps it all up.

  • It’s familiar bordering on retrograde, even unto having a scene where someone explains that “if it bleeds, it leads,” a maxim that we all remember from the first day of J-School, or maybe the trailer for 15 Minutes (where it came out in the dulcet tones of Kelsey Grammer)... Like most genre movies, Nightcrawler gets worse as it goes along, but its scuzzy, fetid atmosphere lingers almost all the way to the final buzzer.

  • Gilroy's script presents Bloom as a capitalistic insect, one who finds money and increasing demand as a footage jockey for a Los Angeles news station, but as a critique of modern media, which it very blatantly is, Gilroy's directorial debut only offers a familiar vision of today's newsman and producers as misery peddlers, and callow ratings slaves bordering on the monstrous.

  • Working from his own screenplay, Gilroy – who wrote The Bourne Legacy – has a talent for depicting uneasy characters in queasy situations, and he subjects his hero to all sorts of unsettling moments, mining a couple of them for genuine laughs... Yet like his erratic protagonist, Gilroy doesn’t always know when to settle down or call it quits, and the film’s constant shifts of tone can grow tiring, even if the action as a whole never gets boring.

  • If Nightcrawler is often heavy-handed, it’s also effectively gripping. In a way, its quotient of cliché brings a dash of B-movie timelessness—or at least, out-of-timeness, in that it doesn’t really feel like a 2014 film. There’s a harsh, neon brassiness about the film that’s very Eighties: not just in the climactic car chase action (in a way, as opportunistic as Louis himself), but in the overall look, with DP Robert Elswit giving Los Angeles and its night lights a synthetic metallic sheen.

  • [Gilroy's] social commentary is never really convincing—like most industry professionals, he seems unable to critique media sensationalism without succumbing to it himself—but if you don't think about this too hard, Nightcrawler is thoroughly compelling. For a first-time director, Gilroy demonstrates an uncommon assurance, not only in his audacious tonal shifts but in the stellar work he elicits from his cast and crew.

  • Nightcrawler is well worth seeing just for Gyllenhaal’s spectacularly creepy performance. Blinking as little as possible and speaking every line with robotic conviction, he makes Louis the sort of person who discovered early in life that it’s possible to get away with nearly anything so long as one couches one’s words in the right tone, except that he has a truly warped notion of what the right tone is.

  • If the most effective horror movies are those that quantify a monster in terms of its deformity and destructiveness, then Nightcrawler is the most chilling film to hit cinemas this Halloween. Writer/director Dan Gillroy's impressive debut feature is part Gothic fiction, part LA noir — all dread dripped and shadow cloaked. It is also, beneath its slick, icy surface, one of the most caustic, acutely-observed social satires of recent times.

  • Gyllenhaal can appreciate that he’s not a conventional star, and there may be no acting challenge in stardom for him anyway. He needs psychology to play. Nightcrawler might give him too much. It’s like he’s been cramming for greatness. But there’s a crazy spark to him here nonetheless. The performance captures the delusion of talent. Louis is a carrion maggot who’s mistaken himself for Weegee.

  • Writer-director Dan Gilroy's supercharged Nightcrawler, a viciously funny film, starts from that premise and wisely avoids making the same points. Instead, it twins the frenetic, sleazy hunt for shocking footage with the career ambitions of a closet psycho who, naturally, rises to the top. Closer in spirit to the media-amplified perversity of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, Nightcrawler feels like a major portrait of a sick, insatiable appetite.

  • Nightcrawler is a seedy tabloid thriller that could easily have played the mid-’80s late night cable circuit. It has plenty of throwback qualities, my favorite being a gruff-and-tumble Bill Paxton supporting performance that seems like a lost relic from the Near Dark era. Yet there’s something ephemerally “now” about the film, a hazy quality—not quite serious, not quite satire—that cuts marrow-deep. Key to its success is Jake Gyllenhaal’s bug-eyed, weasel-haired portrayal of Louis Bloom.

  • Gilroy, a first-time feature director who has written or cowritten many movies, including "The Bourne Supremacy," knows what he wants to say, and how to say it. He maintains just the right amount of distance from Lou, so that we get a buzz from his audacity while finding him revolting. We're not so much looking down on Lou as peering into an abyss that exists, to some degree, within everyone.

  • Nightcrawler has more to say about where and what we are now than any film I’ve seen in a theater this year. Which is, I think, the reason that the film sustains a feeling of intense dread and discomfort in the viewer for its entire duration. I hesitate to call the film great since as a filmgoing experience it’s not exactly what one would describe as “enjoyable” or “fun” in the traditional sense — I can only give it the highest recommendation and urge any film fan to see it.

  • Conventional? I guess - but it ticks so many boxes, scads of Sorkinesque dialogue (geeky hero's steely solipsism and rigid view of human relations are like Zuckerberg in The Social Network, albeit without the genius) AND luscious night-time exteriors with eye-popping colours AND a compellingly skewed protagonist AND an Author's Message about the evils of TV news, even if it's quite a familiar message.

  • Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, out this week on Blu-ray, is the best American movie of 2014. Gilroy constructs an exciting and enraging vision of contemporary life from the spectacle of TV-news freelancers scrambling through L.A. at night to record gory accidents and crimes. This film is incandescent verbally—Gilroy’s eloquently slangy script has been nominated for an Oscar—and visually—the great Robert Elswit did its electric cinematography.

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