Box Office Review: Nightcrawler

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Have you ever come to a realization while watching a film that the acting unfolding before your eyes could very well be an Oscar winning performance? I experienced that sensation about halfway through Nightcrawler.  In case you’re wondering, this film is not about Marvel’s blue-skinned, fanged, cloven-hoofed teleporter. It’s actually about a man who forges a career as a video reporter in Los Angeles.

To say that Nightcrawler is a great movie wouldn’t come close to explaining how good this film is. It’s a freaking awesome movie, and much of the film’s accomplishment must be credited to Jake Gyllenhaal, who turns in a milestone performance as the main character Louis Bloom. I’ve watched Jake G. in a lot of films over the years going back to Donnie Darko. While I always found his acting to be pretty decent, I’ve never seen him offer up anything of this caliber. Gyllenhaal has created a character that could very well become as iconic as Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman or Streetcar’s Stanley Kowalski.

His transformation is entirely physical, from the way he walks, his posture, to his wild-eyed stare and rapid speech. He’s like someone on crystal meth which is an interesting parallel since he does troll the streets all night, looking for breaking news. Fatalities and carjackings are like his crack and once he gets a hold of this life, it consumes him. Of course, some dramatic weight loss on Jake’s part definitely helped to play up this mystique.

103114lunchfilm 1280x720 Box Office Review: NightcrawlerLouis Bloom doesn’t start out as a videographer; he actually comes upon the career by accident. But he finds that he not only enjoys the work but feels as though it was what he was meant to do. He’s a lost and lonely soul who’s a bit of a prick at times but somehow Gyllenhaal manages to make the character sympathetic, even at his most callous point.

Bloom’s ability to soak up information and spit it out the way he does almost hints of a touch of autism. But as Louis says, he’s on the internet all day long. And even though he didn’t obtain a higher education it doesn’t matter because you can find the answer to anything online. This enables him to store up a wealth of knowledge about news production, enough to baffle his producer/love interest played by an effective Rene Russo. Bill Paxton plays a small but welcome role. It’s always nice to see his gum-smacking wise-assery.

The action in Nightcrawler is intense and the suspense builds up at just the right moments. The dialogue and character development as well as the acting all around work together to keep a viewer transfixed. While the producers of Drive did manage to create a similar aura to its predecessor, there’s no falling asleep on this film. Nightcrawler goes from unpredictable to oh my God, he’s not actually going to … yep, he just did. Holy crap.

There is a good reason why it’s got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is definitely one of the best suspense films Hollywood’s put out in a long time.  Rating:  A+  

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