Friday, June 19, 2015

Film Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...delivers adrenaline-pumped thrills, exciting suspense, and sly humor."

Ambitious and unemployed, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) delves into the world of nightcrawling, recording vicious accidents and crimes for money...

Nightcrawler follows Louis Bloom — or simply "Lou" — as he records these events. Essentially, Lou goes all-in on this business venture. He hires a homeless man as an employee, he competes with another established nightcrawling company, and he begins developing a business relationship with Nina Romina (Rene Russo), a news director who buys his footage. Of course, Lou is a little peculiar and a little too ambitious. This leads to a one-sided employer-employee relationship, some "underhanded" methods for beating the competition, and a "complicated" business relationship. Nightcrawler leads to a heart-pounding climax and devilishly-effective ending.

Nightcrawler is an excellent thriller. The film has an incredible focus on character and narrative. We delve deeply into Louis Bloom's psyche through a subtle, thoughtful plot. We watch this character grow, in a sense, out of his shell — a growth that comes full-circle by the end. It's simply fascinating to watch Lou weave in-and-out of morally-wrong situations. On that thought, the film's thematic focus on the moral-ambiguity in nightcrawling, or self-employed "cameramen" in general, is effective. Again, this is thanks to the deep character and plot.

The brilliant plot is amplified by the effectively captured thrills and chills. I was at the edge of my seat during the tense chase scenes and the simple conversations. And it always one-ups itself until it hits that epic climax. Considering this film is about violent crime and the immorality of nightcrawlers and newsman, you can expect some gory visuals. It is raw, usually shown off-camera, but I didn't find it gratuitous or grotesque. The themes are made more human by the devilish black humor — it keeps it grounded and more subtle, so it doesn't beat you over the head with it. (i.e. You don't have to think deeply to enjoy this film, it's a thrill ride with plenty of action and humor.)

Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of his best performances to date. He's full of raw, eccentric energy. From his posture to his speech, Gyllenhaal embodies his character enabling the audience to go all-in — like his character. The supporting cast, such as Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed, effectively anchor this film as one of the best acted movies of 2014. The film is also oozing with neo-noir style. The cinematography and the music blend seamlessly to create a stylish and organic film. Writer and director Dan Gilroy crafts a sinisterly honest thriller. It works wonderfully as a thriller on the surface and it offers more than enough to get you thinking when you consider its deep character and relevant themes.

Overall, Nightcrawler is a masterfully-executed thriller. The film is thrilling, suspenseful, and brutally honest. It delivers adrenaline-pumped thrills, exciting suspense, and sly humor. Thanks to its themes and character, it even offers something to think about — if you want. And it does all of this without compromise. Furthermore, the film boasts a splendid cast, beautiful cinematography and amazing camerawork. If you're looking for something thrilling, funny, and thought-provoking, this is for you.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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