Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

Review: Nightcrawler

nightcrawler poster
via Fat Movie Guy

Nightcrawler (2014)

R / 117 min

Crime / Drama / Thriller

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

Director: Dan Gilroy


There’s something slightly unsettling about Nightcrawler, director Dan Gilroy’s exploration into the world of L.A. crime journalism.  Until watching this movie, I didn’t even know this sort of industry even existed.  Essentially, the act of “nightcrawling” involves racing around the streets of L.A. during the twilight hours to capture b-roll footage of all the crimes that take place during the night.  This footage is then shopped around to news agencies, ripe and ready to be broadcasted during the morning news cycle.  It’s a ruthless business, one that requires you to stay ahead of the curve if you want to succeed.  Nightcrawler is the story of Louis Bloom, a rookie to the business who takes his entrepreneurial abilities a little too far.

nightcrawler 1
via Moustache Magazine

Jake Gyllenhaal takes the lead role of Louis Bloom, a grungy greased-up entrepreneur.  He’s a hustler, persistent to the point of annoyance and willing to do anything he has to in order to put his foot ahead of the rest.  His search for a job comes to an end when he drives past a car accident on his way home.  He gets out of his car and before he even has the chance to take a couple of steps, a van comes to a halting stop next the accident, with two video journalists hopping out to capture the footage.  Ideas start brewing in Louis’ head and before we know it, he is dipping his toes into this somewhat sleazy business.

Louis’ operation escalates pretty quickly as he starts to learn the ins and outs of the business.  He purchases his own equipment, learns the police radio codes, and even hires an assistant (played by Riz Ahmed).  Unlike the other video journalists, Louis takes his craft to the next level and begins to blur the lines of morality.  His first video package that he prepares for a local TV station gets a little nosey as he “breaks” into a house to get the “perfect shot” of a crime scene.  His primary contact at the TV station, TV veteran Nina Romina (Rene Russo), loves this up-close-and-personal footage and decides to air Louis’ work, despite some hesitation from her peers at the station.

nightcrawler 2
via Business Insider

Things only get more intense as Louis tests the waters of moral ambiguity.  Gyllenhaal does a perfect job at portraying the young entrepreneur.  He’s cut-throat in his doings and he’s a little bit insane.  Gyllenhaal takes you down the character’s rabbit hole that he gets himself into as he tries to get “the perfect shot.”  The film ramps up in intensity, especially during a murder scene at a suburban mansion.  It’s the film’s peak, the moment that begins Louis’ decent.  Rene Russo’s Nina also takes part in this decent, although to a lesser extent.  The performances are great all around, but I would have liked to see more from Riz Ahmed’s character.  His relationship with Louis was a toxic one, one that I thought could have been explored a little more than it was.

Nightcrawler shouldn’t really be looked at as an accurate representation of the business, but more as a satire.  However, the film does raise questions about the moral ramifications that stem from such a sordid, yet lucrative job.  Morality is one of the primary driving themes behind the story, one that is handled pretty well.  Like I said in the very beginning of this review, there is something deeply unsettling about the act of nightcrawling.  It’s not the most glamourous of occupations, and this film does a great job at portraying this.

nightcrawler 3
via Reel Brief

Events build up as the movie rolls along but the final scene felt a little bit anticlimactic, and almost unnecessary. Things came to a close in such a jarring way that I was not expecting.  The ending wasn’t really effective at all and didn’t really put the nicest cap on an otherwise very well-made film.  The movie could have been extended or shortened by a scene to wrap things up better.  It would have made a big difference.

There’s a dose of grittiness and darkness that covers Nightcrawler, an unnerving look into the seedy world of crime journalism.  Gyllenhaal gives an outstanding performance of a man who takes things a little too far.  The film documents the steady decline of his character as he does some dirty things to get ahead of his peers.  It’s a fascinating film that’s full of great performances and thrills.  It’s just a shame it wasn’t brought to a conclusion in better fashion.

nightcrawler score.jpg

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And the Oscars go to…

The Academy Award nominees were announced this morning, fresh of the presses.  As with all years, there was a lot of sure-fire favorites that got nominated, as well some notable snubs.  Jake Gyllenhaal was snubbed from the Best Actor category for his performance in Nightcrawler.  It’s also worth noting that The Lego Movie missed the mark for the Best Animated Feature category.  The big category, Best Picture, is going to be a tough race, as well as Best Actor.  In fact, there isn’t too many givens in the categories this year.

With that being said, here are my guesses as to who will win big on the film industry’s biggest night.  I should mention that I have not seen all of the features that have been nominated, but I still consider myself educated enough to make my guesses.  Without further ado…


Best Picture

via Rama's Screen
via Rama’s Screen

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory Of Everything (*WINNER*)

Whiplash

There is some tough competition this year for the night’s biggest award.  There were some surprises, including the nomination for The Grand Budapest Hotel.  When I broke it down, I figured that American Sniper, BoyhoodThe Imitation Game, and The Theory Of Everything would be the favorites.  As for the movie that comes out on top, I predict that The Theory Of Everything will take the honor.  Eddie Redmayne gives a moving performance as famous physicist Stephen Hawking.  I’m willing to bet that his performance will win the voters as well.


Best Director

via Fuertecitio
via Fuertecitio

-Alexandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

-Richard Linklater, Boyhood  (*WINNER*)

-Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

-Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

-Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

If you take into account the work that was put into Boyhood, a movie that reportedly took twelve years to make, it’s easy to believe that Richard Linklater will win the award for Best Director.  The other directors on this list are just as deserving, but it’s hard to argue with the amount of work that Linklater has put into his production.  It’s stunning if you really think about it.


Best Actor

via Boomstick Comics
via Boomstick Comics

-Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

-Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

-Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

-Michael Keaton, Birdman

-Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything  (*WINNER*)

This was probably the toughest category for me.  Almost all of the actors that were nominated deserve to win.  Some of my favorite performances came from Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper, but when I look at Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, I started to have a feeling that he might edge them out in the end.  There was a lot of emotion and dedication that was put into the role, enough that I think it will put him at the top when all is said and done.


Best Actress 

via Black Sheep Reviews
via Black Sheep Reviews

-Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night

-Felicity Jones, The Theory Of Everything

-Julianne Moore, Still Alice  (*WINNER*)

-Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

-Reese Witherspoon, Wild

I was surprised when I saw that Marion Cotillard was nominated for the category.  Two Days One Night might be a surprise favorite come Oscars time frame.  However, for me, it was between Reese Witherspoon and Julianne Moore, and I think that Julianne Moore, who plays linguistic professor Alice Howland in Still Alice will win the award.


Best Supporting Actor 

via The Guardian
via The Guardian

-Robert Duvall, The Judge  (*WINNER*)

-Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

-Edward Norton, Birdman

-Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

-J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Turning 84 last week, Robert Duvall has surpassed Hal Holbrook as the oldest male acting nominee in Oscar history.  It’s his seventh nomination in his career, and I think that he will take home the award.  It would also be nice to see The Judge get some love from the Academy


Best Supporting Actress

via Lyles Movie Files
via Lyles Movie Files

-Patricia Arquette, Boyhood  (*WINNER*)

-Laura Dern, Wild

-Kiera Knightley, The Imitation Game

-Emma Stone, Birdman

-Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

This was another tough one.  It was nice to see Meryl Streep nominated for Into The Woods, a movie I was not expecting to see in the Oscars conversation.  I should have know better because it seems like Meryl Streep’s name is always appearing when the Oscars come into season.  As for the winner, I think that Patricia Arquette might take the honor for her performance as the mother in Boyhood.  The movie is really something, and I think that Arquette has what it takes to win over the Academy.