Saw Nightcrawler Saturday afternoon after work, and thought it was awesome. It is, to be fair, a flick that's right in my wheelhouse. Like Myth, I too enjoy flicks about sociopaths. But in addition to that, it was a cool look into a more specific world that I personally never seen anything about, nor have I ever given it any thought. This "stringer" community, which is what they call the group of freelance video guys who get the footage we see on the news, was pretty fascinating. And I'm by no means implying this is a documamentary on the subject, but it felt like a really natural place to stick this voyueristic socially defunct lunatic.
It's totally plot driven, and therefore may not holdup to repeated viewings. We're not going to learn about Louis Blooms' parents, or his life in high school, or what attempts were made to treat him, or anything like that. He's a nut, and he's found a means to make money with his obsession for watching people, and one that isn't based on a penchant for burglary.
But it is loaded with atmosphere and tone. I was really impressed by the work we got out of Dan Gilroy, considering this is apparently his first directorial gig. He also wrote it, and has a dozen or so writing credentials under his belt. Although nothing terribly noteworthy. His brother Tony Gilroy does have a few director credits of merit though, including a Bourne movie, and Micheal Clayton. And while it was nice to see Renee Russo in a good role as was mentioned, it's worth noting she slept with the director for the job. She's been married to Gilroy for 20+ years.
There isn't much in the way of characters here. Over two hours, it's pretty much Gyllenhaal's Bloom, with a young homeless presumably spanish kid named Rick, or Richard ... as Bloom insists on. The kid is excellent, and gives us the best stuff to see Bloom masking his insanity, and a face to react at the moments Bloom breaks through. Russo is excellent. Especially in that she's given her own set of really pretty heinous character flaws. She bargains with Lou both literally and figuratively. And Bill Paxton is a rival stringer that just gives Lou some adversarial tension, but he too has his own brand of sleezy. That's really pretty much it, and no one is particularly innocent in the whole thing. That's part of what gives it it's whole edge.
As much as it isn't a character study, it's probably not fair to say it's plot driven either. There is a singe video that drives the third act. But the truth is it feels more like a study in tone. Everyone is murky. The score consistently feels like an ominous undertone. There's so much night time lighting. We're given a loud agressive lurking car, and a sequence of horrible things to be filmed. The whole thing just feels kind of grimy, which is sort of the point I'm sure. It reminded me a little Drive, which also felt like a mood experiment dropped on top of this little looked at world of a professional driver, and who's plot was quick and dirty after a sequence of sort of non-sequetor events. I'm sure there will also be some American Psycho comparisons. Psycho was a broader story, but also had a similar psychopath dropped into this specific world feel. I kind of like the more focused story we get in this than Psycho, but I'd have to see how it holds up over time.
Gyllenhaal was great. He really is a great actor. He just does interesting work. He's got such a dark edge in so much stuff of late. And he seems to be able to take what could be even middling roles, like the one in Prisoners, and just throw a quircky edge on them. He obviously lost a ton of weight for this, and makeup kept his hair stringy as a prop, and darkened his eyes give him almost a skull like look.
Overall I'd give it a high 80s. And over time that could go up if it holds up to rewatching I'd say. Absolutely worth seeing.
Heath Ledger on the first day of shooting the Dark Knight
Really a shame he passed away. He was also amazing in The Patriot. Spoiler alert. I'm still surprised the directors had him killed in the movie... I thought after his brother, Thomas, died it would just be the evil redcoat officer that was going to die.
I watched 30 for 30: Elway to Marino last night. Not really a movie but I'll give it a solid 8.5/10. Learned a lot about how Elway was a pretty boy from California who had his daddy and agent get to a team that he wanted. Eli Manning did something similar as well. Marino SHOULD have been drafted by the Cowboys IMO.
Gyllenhaal has gotten that creepy wholesome routine down to a science. He's been cultivating it since Donnie Darko. He's like Beaver Cleaver... if he had grown up at the Manson ranch. He'd make a perfect Norman Bates if they ever do another proper Psycho remake (and they probably will).
I can't be the only one who somewhat liked Lou Bloom, right? I understood the character and his motivations, even if his methods were a bit extreme. He's basically the naked embodiment of all the things a capitalist society deems desirable- he's ambitious, he's hardworking, focused, goal-oriented, relentless. Nightcrawler could easily be viewed as an American success story about a down on his luck and aimless young man who through sheer will and determination became a successful small business owner.
The number of sociopaths in positions of power (especially CEOs) is high according to several studies. That's not a coincidence. That's what it takes.
disappointed by the lack of explicit sex scenes. Louis Bloom must be fascinating in the privacy of his own bedroom as well, would be interested to see what he demanded of Russo's character in there.
Gyllenhaal and the director addressed that earlier today in an article in the Hollywood Reporter: