Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Neo-Noir
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Running Time: 117 minutes
MMPA rating: R
The Good: Jake Gyllenhaal's performance is captivating, Intense sequences, Height of Machiavellian protagonists, Disturbingly understandable, Almost makes you feel crazy for a few hours, Riveting score
The Bad: Slight pacing issues in the middle, No incentive to rewatch,
Plot: 7.5/10- Nightcrawler's plot is simple, yet the few twists and turns maintain a generally solid pace. The pacing stumbles around the middle of the film, although it picks back towards the end, which to a satisfying conclusion. Honestly, the plot is not what drives the film, it is protagonist, Louis "Lou" Bloom, so the heavily character driven narrative only required a few twists to make things interesting and it certainly achieved that.
Characterization: 8.5/10- Louis "Lou" Bloom is such a unique character with a pure Machiavellian mentality. Once he knows what he wants, he goes straight for it, and manipulates to get it. As shown within the first 5 minutes where he robs a construction worker of his materials, Lou is a cunning man. However, the way the character is written and performed is so strange to witness. He talks as if he has learned human interaction strictly from the internet and self-help book, which he references. In the end, Lou is one of the worst, most despicable characters ever. And yet, the bizarre part is that you can actually understand where he is coming from, which is kind of disturbing... He is the type of manipulating character that is lacking in western media. In many ways, he is the villain of his own movie, and for me, movies where cunning scumbags are the protagonist are almost always enthralling! Nightcrawler's other characters only serve to interact with Lou, who the film follows almost exclusively.
Direction: 7.8/10- Dan Gilroy's direction, while very good, lacks the visual flare of the true masters of filmmaking. Much of the film's success comes from the script, Gyllenhaal, and the real crew of "Nightcrawlers," who are said to have assisted with the filming of the news scenes. With that said, for a freshman directorial effort, Gilroy does an excellent job, and he has to be given some credit for directing Gyllenhaal's performance; speaking of which....
Acting: 9.7/10- Somebody, get this man an Oscar! How the heck was Jake Gyllenhaal not nominated at the Academy Awards!? Did no one see the film? His performance is extraordinary! Sure, it might have been a little overhyped, but Gyllenhaal's performance sold the bizarre nature of the character. As for everyone else, they were fine; not great, but still good enough.
Soundtrack: 8.3/10- James Newton Howard's score is noticeably excellent throughout the film. It provides a different atmosphere than the norm for a suspense film, and it works!
Humor: N/A- Due to my enjoyment of cynical humor, Nightcrawler made me laugh several times, but other viewers probably will not find it particularly humorous.
Entertainment Value: 8.2/10- As gripping as the film can be while watching, largely thanks to Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler is a one-time watch for me. There is little to make me come back to it again, unlike other similar neo-noir thrillers; it just lacks that special something.
Overall: 8.0/10- Hinging on Jake Gyllenhaal's captivating performance, Nightcrawler is a film worth seeing at least once. It might not leave enough of an impression to keep me thinking about it a week from now, but Nightcrawler certainly succeeds at portraying an incredibly unique and fascinating character.
Closing comments: Netflix users should give this one a watch, providing that you are old enough.
Recommended for: Gyllenhaal fans, Anti-hero fans, Thriller fans, Neo-Noir fans,
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