Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton
Direction: Dan Gilroy
Genre: Crime
Duration: 1 hour 58 minutes

Story: If you find twisted human behaviour fascinating and have a penchant for psychological thrillers, Nightcrawler is your film this week.

Review: Made with a modest budget, the film highlights the devious tricks of contemporary crime journalism. It lets fear engulf your mind with its threatening silence, dangerous chase sequences, creepy nights and a creepier protagonist Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal). Desperate for a job, Lou, a sociopath, realizes that shooting and selling raw crime footage to local news channel is a good source of income. Equipping himself with a camera and a police scanner, he goes hunting in the night, seeking an untouched crime scene. Soon, the job that begins as his means of survival becomes his vicious obsession.

In order to stay at the top of his game, Lou resorts to staging and manipulating crime scenes. Can he get away with it? Other than being noirish, Nightcrawler also works as a social satire. It mocks the voyeurism and lack of ethics that the media often shamelessly exhibits. The cinematography is another asset. First-time director Dan Gilroy must be lauded for his edgy execution. However, by giving one of the best performances of his career, it is Gyllenhaal, who carries the entire film on his shoulders. As the lonely, soulless, egotistical, cold and calculative anti-hero, he is a revelation here.

The actor sends shivers down your spine with his prolonged piercing stare and ambiguous intentions. He will remind you of Robert De Niro’s terrific Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Jake’s noticeable weight loss, unpleasant look further add to the eeriness of his character and psyche. His indecent proposals to Rene Russo (head of a news channel) are cringeworthy. Riz Ahmed (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) as Lou’s hapless employee is perfectly cast as well. Nightcrawler is tense and appalling, yet strangely funny, intriguing and engaging at the same time. Watch it.

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Volume 10 Issue 41 | New York | Oct 21

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