By Sharad Hirjee - November 10th, 2014


Sometimes we get invited to some interesting press screenings. Sharad’s review might be a bit on the short side – but it’s only because he struggled with not letting too many important details out of the bag. -ed.

A night crawler is a freelance videographer that goes out at night and trolls for accidents and/or crimes, captures them on film, and then sells them the next day to the highest bidder. Nightcrawler was released at the Toronto International Film Festival (with much acclaim) and was one of the hottest tickets and sold out almost immediately.

Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, this 117-minute film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and actor Bill Paxton. This veteran cast exposes a dark world of shock journalism that lives up to Russo’s chilling quote “if it bleeds, it leads”.

The movie starts by introducing Gyllenhaal as a hungry Lou Bloom – a man eager to carve out his way in the world. After fencing some stolen merchandise, Bloom comes across a serious car accident on the highway, witnesses another film crew swoop in to take footage The next day, he sees that footage from the previous night leading the news the next day. Needless to say, he is hooked.

Jake trying out for a role in the next Scooby-Doo movie.

This might be Gyllenhaal’s best performance to date, as he delivers an award-worthy performance as the bipolar, sociopathic Bloom. There are moments in the film in which he is so creepy that it is almost funny; in other instances he delivers Tony Robbins-esque inspirational quotes in a manner that makes your skin crawl. In my opinion this movie was the exact opposite of box office failures Love and Other Drugs, or Prince of Persia.

This film is entirely about Bloom’s dark journey as he gets darker and creepier, and the process is so gradual and easy that when he eventually crosses certain moral lines, it almost takes you by surprise. In his very intriguing relationship with Russo (as news director Nina Romina), his character sways wildly between a timid newbie to a demanding psychopath, almost forcing the viewer to helplessly try to predict what’s going to happen next.

Wannabe vampires? Nope. Wannabe media dudes. Same thing, really.

I went into this movie with very few expectations, and I actively tried to avoid reading anything about it – I am glad that I did this. I was very pleasantly surprised to enjoy a movie that flies somewhere in between the genres of horror and drama, and I would highly recommend viewing this film to pretty much anyone. It is certainly not your run-of-the-mill “Hollywood” movie, and it certainly made for some very entertaining after-show conversation.

I think too much more detail around the story would actually take away from your experience of watching it yourself for the first time. While he has been around for a while, I see better things coming for Gyllenhaal if this film is any indication. In fact, this movie might even get him that elusive Oscar win.

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