Mrs. Rawson and I went to Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut, Nightcrawler, on Saturday. Here are a few random impressions.
1) “If you want to win the lottery, you have to earn the money to pay for the ticket.”
2) I’ll flat out say it: After Zodiac, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy (Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it), and now Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal is my favorite actor. As far as I’m concerned, he is the go to guy for crime films.
3) Louis Bloom, holy shit is this guy creepy. He vibes like Rain Man, but Rain Man with serious personality disorders. And by personality disorder, I mean he would stab you in the neck.
4) In the opening scene of the film, Lou is caught snipping at a chainlink fence with wire cutters. He’s stopped by a rental cop. At first, Lou is very amicable with the guard. With the flashlight beam right in his eyes, he can’t tell if the man shinning it is a cop or not? Once he gets a look at the man’s uniform, though, Lou pounces. In the next scene, Lou is wearing the security guard’s wrist watch. The audience doesn’t know if Lou has killed the guard or simply beat him up and robbed him?
5) He killed him.
6) Two of my favorite character actors are Bill Paxton and Rene Russo. It’s a pleasure for me to see them act even if they only seem to play various versions of themselves from other films.
7) I’ll just cut to the chase: Nightcrawler is my favorite film of 2014. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I guess you can skip the rest of this review if that’s all you care about hearing.
8) There isn’t a single likable character in Nightcrawler. Seriously, everyone in it is a bottom dweller. They’re the parasites of society, and it’s the reason why I like the film so much, because no Hollywood film seems to get made without at least one character you can root for.
9) Nightcrawler’s director, Dan Gilroy, must have some major fucking juice to get this one made, and god bless him for getting it made.
10) Lou’s “intern” isn’t likable. So if you’ve seen the film, and you’re saying to yourself: What about the intern, he seemed nice. He wasn’t, the dude was a scumbag, Gilroy just didn’t expand of the character so we could see his scumbaggery.
11) I had no idea there were guys like Lou and Bill Paxton’s character, Joe Loder, out in the world. I always thought news stations simply had camera crews they would send out when an accident or a murder occurred.
12) Lou witnesses an accident one night and sees Loder’s van and crew filming the scene. Lou being the morbid, industrious type asks Loder for a job. Loder tells him to fuck off. Lou steals a bicycle the next day, pawns it, and buys his own camera equipment. Lou loves competition and hates being told no.
13) Rene Russo’s character, Nina Romina, is just as much of a scumbag as Lou. She’s a driven career woman who’s in a career dominated by much younger women. She’s constantly fighting for her jobs. When she meets Lou and views his footage, she sees him as an opportunity, as a way to advance her career. Lou sees her in the same light. Nina thinks she has the upper hand the entire time. She doesn’t.
14) The first act of the film is the slowest. It drags a bit as Gilroy establishes his characters and their roles. This isn’t by any means a criticism, because Gilroy more than makes up for it in the second and third acts.
15) Second act begins with Loder approaching Lou about teaming up and letting Lou head up his second team. Lou says no. Loder gets pissy, tells Lou to fuck off again. Lou smirks, but then Loder starts beating him to crime scenes. Lou evens the odds by cutting the break lines to Loder’s vans.
16) Second act highlights: Lou pressures Nina into a sexual relationship by threatening to take his footage to other stations and he beats the police to the scene of a home invasion and films the entire thing without the cops present, including the perpetrators and their vehicle. He sells it to Nina’s station for 15 grand and doesn’t give any of it to the police.
17) “What if I were to tell you that I am the way I am not because I don’t understand people, but because I don’t like them …”
18) In a lesser film, the filming of the home invasion would be the highlight. Nope, not in the case of Nightcrawler. All the home invasion is is lead in for the third act, which is pure fucking dynamite.
19) Here’s the point in the review where I say if you like James Elroy and Jim Thompson or movies like Taxi Driver or Springbreakers, you should go see Nightcrawler. I’m not saying that this time. Even if you don’t like Ellroy, or Thompson, or Taxi Driver, go see this movie.
20) I usually do the spoiler thing here. Nope, not doing that this time either. The third act is just too good to ruin. Go see the movie.