Gyllenhaal’s character a mastermind in ‘Nightcrawler’

By Ivan Mateo

You know those things that go bump in the night? The creepy, crawly little things scurrying in places they shouldn’t be? Sorry if the hairs on the back of your neck are standing, but “Nightcrawler” is only sort of like that, but with fewer insects and not so many legs.

Louis “Lou” Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a highly driven individual, tries to find success in Los Angeles in any way he can. Stealing chain link fences did not provide enough of an avenue for Lou to climb the hypothetical ladder to success, so he searches for other means.

Lou witnesses a couple of policemen rescuing an injured woman from the inside of a burning vehicle wreck, while two cameramen capture the footage up close and personal. One of the cameramen, Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), tells Lou the footage will lead the morning news because “if it bleeds, it leads.”

This car crash scene arouses Lou’s curiosity and thrusts him head first into the world of freelance video journalism.

Rick (Riz Ahmed) assists Lou in his endeavors for success as an understudy, learning the ropes of underground freelance news. Driven by what success will yield, Lou stops at nothing to achieve what he wants. Rick sees this and has his own individual needs, but how far is he willing to go?

Nina (Rene Russo) also takes a major part in Lou’s quest as the news director who purchases Lou’s breaking news footage. The question of who’s more dependent on the other becomes clearer as the film progresses. Who needs whom more? Does the freelancer need the news director, or vice versa?

When Lou finds something or someone he enjoys, he tends to stick to them like a blood-sucking leech, and, like a cockroach, he shows up anywhere and everywhere looking for a new hard-hitting story. Lou swiftly accumulates knowledge like a sponge absorbs water, crediting the Internet and his computer for his sudden knowledge.

Lou’s bluntness to everyone surrounding him elicited laughter and reactions from the audience, such as “Did he really just say that?”

When asked about his weight loss for the role by the New York Daily News, Gyllenhaal responded, “I knew that [Lou] was literally and figuratively hungry.” Lou certainly is, but his appetite is voracious. Gyllenhaal’s transformation into Lou adds a creepy, yet agile dimension to his character.

His character faces some hard-hitting questions. Have you ever desired something so badly that you would do anything to reach it? What would stop you? Would anything stop you? Nothing stops Lou in the film, and witnessing the lines he is willing to cross proves to be quite the sight to behold.

However, the audience does have to suspend their disbelief in a few moments. Is Lou that much smarter than everyone in the film? Couldn’t the authorities just take a peek at the traffic cameras to see what’s actually going on?

Charismatic and smooth, yet manipulative and sociopathic, Lou makes anyone give him what he wants in an utterly cool and controlled manner ” but only if they listen to his pitch long enough.

Lou plays the puppet master throughout the film, while the rest of the world dances to his rhythm and beat. Because he seems to be so much smarter than everyone, no one can escape his controlling strings. He knows what people desire, and uses this knowledge advantageously to achieve his ultimate goal of getting whatever the heck he wants: money, power, control or all of the above.

Nightcrawler is playing in theaters now. It is Rated R for violence, including graphic images and language.


Courtesy Open Road Films


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