Nightcrawler (2014)

nightcrawler

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.

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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.

nightcrawler jake gyllenhaal

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.

 

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26 thoughts on “Nightcrawler (2014)”

  1. You managed to really write down the feelings this film gave you and I can completely understand those. Such an amazing performance from Gyllenhaal, reading your review I immediately would like to head to the cinema to watch it again.

    1. Really? Thanks! I though I completely butchered this review but I was so focused on getting something out yesterday that I couldn’t allow myself to scrap another draft.

      Gyllenhaal is slowly becoming my favorite. god, love him!

  2. I was so much more impressed by this film than I expected to be. Gyllenhaal’s performance is stellar. Definitely one of my favorites of the year, too. Nice review!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I think Gyllenhaal will get some great nominations for this, and hopefully some awards as well because he sure deserves some!

    1. Great review? Ah, you are just saying that.. hah, I struggled a lot with this one to be honest so it’s nice to hear that it was well worth the struggle. 🙂

  3. I understand what you felt there… to try to put up every emotions to write a review for a movie that deserves more than just a review. This is, really, a great review! I can feel the love, and I agree that this is a very brilliant movie with brilliant performance by Gyllenhaal.
    Well, he’s being more interesting lately. After Enemy, and now this, and have you seen the pic of Southpaw? I think we might see a living cult.

    1. Thank you! Ironically, I sat down yesterday and after this, wrote a bit for Mockingjay and it was 10 times easier to write it because I didn’t like it at all. So indeed, it’s hard to write about something you love so much and stay at least a little bit objective through it all.

      I haven’t seen Enemy yet but the picture of Southpaw is amazing! He is really becoming a great actor, isn’t he!?

        1. Well, you should have seen my emotional state during writing.. I was so frustrated with myself at the end, I just gave up and went with what I had.. even though I thought it wasn’t really good. I guess going with your gut is actually a good thing. 🙂

  4. Considering your level of adoration for this film–this is very well written despite what you may think! I’m on the same boat, yet I can’t muster a sentence out about it. Jake Gyllenhaal is my #1 actor of the year for this movie without a doubt.

    1. This just makes my little heart break.. so many good words about this review and I thought it made no sense what so ever. Thank you so much!

      And I’m totally voting Jake for my number one this year.. which reminds me.. better start making those end of the year lists.. *panics*

        1. I’m throwing the “top” idea out of the window right away.. I mean, I can list the bad ones.. but putting good ones in an order, it just seems torture I’m not willing to suffer through. 😀

  5. “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.” – oh this is so true, very well put! I liked the movie a lot too and this is a brilliant review!

    1. Thank you so much! People keep saying it’s a good review after my panic that it isn’t so.. overwhelmed.

      And it was the same kind of thing with Amy too, but as you know, I haven’t been able to write about Gone Girl yet.. together with Louis, they could make a very interesting couple.

    1. Freakily awesome! I love that reading about the behind the scene things, Gyllenhaal was literally living the life.. not eating much and staying hungry for most of the movie.. he looks hungry because he was. Poor Jake.

  6. Great review! I totally agree how great it was to see Bloom just as the guy that he was without a backstory or history. It made him all the more creepier and interesting. Gyllenhaal’s performance is the favorite I’ve seen so far and his monologues are drilled into my brain.

    1. There was mystery to his character but not too much.. it was so compelling to see his progress and I’m sure it would be as thrilling for a second time around!

  7. Great review! I just saw Nightcrawler two days ago, and I haven’t been able to form a review for it yet. I’m sure it will take time! It is probably one of my favorites of the year, but like you, I think there are so many good movies, I think I’ll have a difficult time deciding. Definitely one of the best performances of the year though.

      1. I think so too! I know, right? I’m actually really having a hard time coming up with my top 10 (favorites) of the year. And I still have quite a few left to see.

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