Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

imageEqual parts drama, thriller and dark comedy, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler (A) is a spectacular indictment of bloodthirsty mass media. A loner played by Jake Gyllenhaal exploits the “if it bleeds, it leads” culture of TV news to become a stringer for a struggling L.A. news channel and manipulates everything in his path from his equally nomadic assistant (Riz Ahmed) to a washed-up producer (Rene Russo) to feed his nocturnal obsession. Gyllenhaal is brilliant as a mash-up of Max Headroom and Mitt Romney, taking to the streets to document crime as soon as it happens – or is it the other way around? It’s a tour de force filled with the robotic glee of a man seemingly birthed by Wikipedia and an online business class module. Gilroy evokes Network and Taxi Driver while fashioning an ultra-chic West Coast dystopia steeped in a culture accustomed to get what it wants at any cost. The fact that the film’s protagonist is so creepy and unpredictable makes it all the more watchable. Kudos to Russo as well who is part desperate foil and part accomplice in an unholy alliance. This will be a film discussed for years to come.