After almost five years of blogging about movies and TV shows, you would think I’ll be skilled enough to sit down behind a computer and write a review in a blink of an eye. That is not the case, it’s rarely a case with okay movies and it’s an even rarest occasion for the movies that are brilliant. In my experience, it is simply so much harder to focus your thoughts and emotions with movies that have managed to crawl under your skin because you want to mention everything. Every scene, every moment, ever line delivered with perfection is note worthy… so today, I want to write about everything that is Nightcrawler.
First off, I want to point out that my level of concentration while writing this review will be tiny compared to the emotional roller coaster that is going on in my mind when I think about Nightcrawler. Simply put, I can’t seem to find the words nor form sentences that would make sense – there is just a high pitched squeal in my brain making noise right now but every once in a while, I can hear my brain chanting Jake Gyllenhaal’s name over and over again. Yes, I’m a bit mental when it comes to Nightcrawler and I might come across as mental because this will mark my third time starting this review and I can’t afford to do it again. So I’m sorry if this is going to be all over the place, just keep in mind that this mess that will soon follow is in no way a reflection of Nightcrawler.
Secondly, as expected, Nightcrawler has already gotten some good reviews from various screenings worldwide, and since it was also shown during the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, there was no way I was going to miss it. From the first scene to the last, from acting to directing, from cinematography to soundtrack, from story to writing – Nightcrawler ticked all the right boxes for me and did it so well, it’s almost impossible to not call it one of my favorites this year. I can’t say my favorite because I honestly can’t choose between all the great ones I’ve seen this year (there are a lot, aren’t there?). What I can say for certain is that Jake Gyllenhaal became my number one actor of 2014 and we should give him all the awards! All of them!
Now, as I’ve gotten all of that out of my system, I should start expressing my feelings towards the movie itself. There are a lot… of feelings I mean and it’s probably because I was very impressed with Nightcrawler on so many levels. There was a moment in the movie, right near the end where Louis tricks his partner to film the criminal up close, where I gasped and my actual reaction was to place my hands over my mouth. Now, you would think that it’s nothing note worthy or you might do it a lot yourself, but that almost never happens to me. I rarely have physical reactions of surprise or gasp for air when something shocking happens, but I was so invested in the storyline that I somehow forgot that I was simply watching a movie.
Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a lonely man who survives on small acts of theft like stealing fences and manhole covers to get by. From the first encounter, to the last, Louis Bloom never stops progressing into the man he is, showing new aspects of himself to the viewer step by step until the breaking point (which by the way, was an improvisation by Gyllenhaal that lead to stitches). There is a specific scene in a restaurant, where he expresses his plans to a news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo), which literally floored me. Not just because it was funny, at the surface, but also because it was so god damn creepy that I felt guilty for laughing.
Bloom stumbles on his newly found career by accident but he surely isn’t going to achieve success accidentally. He works for it, he works really hard, even though that hard work sometimes is overshadowed by his need to control, manipulate and use people, which he does very well I might add. Bloom is a complex character whose success not only lies behind the script and the acting, but the way he is presented visually. One of the most important visual elements shown, is his apartment, which isn’t on screen a lot but just enough to emphasize the man Louis Bloom is. Minimal, with few needs and definitely not a man who indulges himself with things, or food, or alcohol. And then there’s the plant he waters, showing that he can take on responsibilities and that he sort of cares, though, definitely a bit differently than others.
As previously hinted, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Louis Bloom is the best thing that has happened to me this year. There is not just the physical appearance of a hungry man but the presence of one, the look in Jake’s eyes is eery and dangerous, even while smiling. Sitting in that theater, part of me was scared of him, and another part of me was amazed at how easily this, almost psychopathic character came out of Jake.. and how well he looked the part. Even that ponytail looked well suited for Louis, the clothes, the car(s) – every decision (some made by Jake himself) related to Louis worked very well, even his preference for women made sense due to the lack of parental support he seemed to have in his life.
Without sounding like a crazed out fan, which is a level of hysteria I’m very likely to achieve, I really can’t praise Nightcrawler enough. Just the mere fact that it managed to raise an emotion from me that I’m not very used to feeling, goes to show that it is a great movie. What makes me love Nightcrawler is the fact that it brings on screen a complex male character who is explored just enough to give us an idea of him but not too much to make us understand him completely. Plus, though I haven’t really mentioned it, the plot is simple and interesting – which, just like Louis Bloom, doesn’t indulge itself too much on things like action, humor and romance. But just enough of everything to give us a craving for more movies like Nightcrawler.