Nightcrawler (R)

10 Stars

Oddity is an antidote for the jaded.

The off-putting, unsettled feeling of irksome circumstance.

The exploits of nightcrawlers, independent salesmen collecting footage of post-crime carnage, bear much estranged fruit.

Second only to Gone Girl, Nightcrawler is the best motion picture released in 2014.

That distinction, however, is ultimately subjective. Both are must-see.

Govern expectations accordingly, because it seems folks are hoping for more action-packed horror.

Nightcrawler’s a dark dramatic thriller.

Expect twisted spookery, but in a more subtle and realistic manner.

Overall, this film is very smart.

It’s a tale of moral ambiguity about the mysterious creepsters who provide found-footage for nightly television news.

It’s set in L.A and completely divorced from the creative filming industries.

The very setting, albeit typical, is oddly off-type.

Which is similar to the pacing and scene construction. Dan Gilroy, the writer/director, displays an exquisite proficiency at defying narrative conventions.

Along with montage, time lapse and alternative credits sequencing, breaking cliché is a cinematic theme of 2014.

Another setting-based narrative strength is the relative lack of sunlight. The protagonist’s eyes are never naked to unfiltered rays.

The infrequency is certainly purposeful.

Another example of the writing strength is the humor: Subtle, unexpected and consistent.

This film’s success is also due (in part) to the spectral visual style.

The shooting, editing and cinematography is masterful.

On the flip side of sense perception, the sound mixing and score is excellent.

Nightcrawler owes a hefty portion of its success to the acting.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s unseemly characterization is fantastic.

Jake is one of our finest actors working today. Source Code, Donnie Darko and last year’s Prisoners are three of the best in cinematic history.

Here he crafts an original antihero in Louis Bloom.

[Quick side note: The similarity between the name of the protagonist in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, must be purposeful, no? Especially if one considers the nickname antics involved in the two stories.]

Louis Bloom embraces his role as an opossum, monetizing the carrion of human sophistication with the utmost efficiency.

In the strangest way, his attitude is highly admirable.

For example, his belief in honest negotiation and dedicated apprenticeship endears the viewer.

On the other hand (which I won’t spoil) some of his behavior may be considered reprehensible.

Who knows?

See it and find out.

As a final note, Bill Paxton is terrific. He plays a completely different character from his role in Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, a July release which still remains one of my top ten movies of 2014.

Pax tears it up no matter what.

With too many great movies in his filmography to mention (including a number of classics from great directors like James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow and John Hughes) I’ll just say he first debuted in 1974.

So he’s been killing it for forty years. Keep it up, Bill!

Check out Nightcrawler if you dig smart flicks.

By the by, there’s an homage to The Usual Suspects.

High-fives for those who notice.

2 thoughts on “Nightcrawler (R)

    • Jakey G’s a dreamboat; am I right, Ma? He kills it in this role.

      Unfortunately, yes, it’s a bit more subtle than most expect. But overall, it’s a smart winner, so I think you’ll enjoy Nightcrawler if you ever get the chance.

      Thanks for the comment and hope all’s going good.

      Love,
      Steve

      Like

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