Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Nightcrawler’ Review: Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo & Bill Paxton

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the few Hollywood actors that has been able to transition from drop-dead gorgeous heart throb starring in romantic roles to mind-bending, dramatic and even horrifying roles. If you haven’t seen 2001’s Donnie Darko or this year’s Enemy, those could both be stacked in the horror genre. In his directorial debut, Dan Gilroy (screenwriter for 2012’s The Bourne Legacy) puts Gyllenhaal in the lime light as a young man trying to make a career for himself in Los Angeles.

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a young and driven man looking to make ends meet while living in LA. He’s willing to lie, cheat and steal just to make a buck. Lou has been making his income selling stolen goods until one night when he comes across Joe (Bill Paxton), a freelance cameraman who catches the nightly crimes and accidents all on camera that he then sells to local news stations. Lou sees potential to make top dollar having the same career, so he buys a camera, hires an “intern” Rick (Riz Ahmed), and gets to work listening to police scanners and cruising through the streets of LA hoping to capture the big story of the night.

After his first night of capturing a brutal car accident on camera, Lou takes his footage to a news station where he meets Nina (Rene Russo), a TV veteran whose job is on the line unless her ratings improve. After Lou continues to bring Nina good footage, the two form an exclusive relationship, both business and personal. Desperate to bring Nina exciting footage and be the best in the business, Lou begins to cross the line of just being an observer to getting involved in the actual crimes.

nightcrawler jake gyllenhaal

Though I prefer Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in this year’s Enemy over almost any his other roles, he is exceptional as the young, driven and cut-throat newbie cameraman here. It’d be a miracle if Gyllenhaal got nominated for Enemy, but if he doesn’t earn a nom for Nightcrawler it would be a true travesty. With his supporting performance in Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners being overlooked by the Academy last year, Gyllenhaal more than deserves the nomination for his transformative performance as Lou. It proves his range as an actor who can lead a romantic comedy to one who can star in menacing role like this.

And welcome back to the world of film, Rene Russo! Russo is just lovely as the nightly news producer who is willing to do anything to save her career and jump to the top of the ratings. She has a natural ability to play a woman of authority and Russo and Gyllenhaal have a strangely fun chemistry as boss and employee.

nightcrawler rene russo

James Newton Howard’s (2014’s Maleficent) electric score paired with Robert Elswit’s (2012’s The Bourne Legacy) stunning cinematography of the downtown lights of LA gives the feeling of 2011’s Drive.

Nightcrawler is the ideal movie to watch on Halloween if you’re in the mood for a thriller and mystery over cheap scares and gore. Led by a magnificent Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler is a film you’ll be thinking about long after it’s over.

Copyright © 2020 DC Film Girl