Nightcrawler may have been my favorite film this year. Jake Gyllenhaal, while not always the most flawless actor, seems to have a knack for selecting nuanced scripts (see Zodiac, Enemy, Donnie Darko—all movies with a “meta” element). The term nuanced however, would not be at all the way to describe this movie. At times the movie’s gore and action feels heavy handed but never absentmindedly so. All moving parts—actors, direction, and story—know exactly where they’re heading from the start, and the payoff is worth the effect.
Mr. Gyllenhaal nails his role as Louis Bloom, an ambitious, constantly wide-eyed “nightcrawler.” Gyllenhaal’s performance has drawn repeated comparison to DeNiro in Taxi Driver, but while the two roles share similarities, I thought Bloom’s character was fundamentally different in that he does end up fitting in to some extent. And it’s Bloom’s success that makes the movie such clever social commentary—the audience can’t help but to be impressed by Bloom’s trajectory, even if it comes at the expense of his lackey or from his total disregard of social decency. At one point, Bloom’s underling confides in him that Bloom “doesn't get people,” setting up the line of the movie when Gyllenhaal chillingly reveals, “it’s not that I don’t get people, it’s that I just don’t like them.”
Directed and written by Dan Gilroy.