Nightcrawler: Sociopathy at its Most Thrilling

By Max Rouhas

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Image courtesy of Open Road Films

Image courtesy of Open Road Films

“Nightcrawler” follows the story of the deceptive Lou Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s isolated, unemployed and willing to do just about anything to survive. While hunting for a job, Bloom finds excitement and cash by videotaping accidents and crime scenes for a local news station. Bloom puts his welfare and sometimes life at risk because of his greed and ambition.

Director Dan Gilroy electrifies the audience throughout the movie using crime, danger and drama. “Nightcrawler” immediately draws viewers in with captivating images of Los Angeles at night, a sprawling city of dreamlike proportions. But with every night in Los Angeles comes a dark tragedy that Bloom must film. Utilizing Bloom’s ambition and job, Gilroy showcases intense scenes of Bloom sneaking into a house, or driving in a car chase.

However, even with the beautiful and gripping scenes of Los Angeles, what makes “Nightcrawler” so fascinating is Bloom himself. Gyllenhaal channels his acting skill to portray a self-seeking, diligent, and high functioning sociopath. His antisocial tendencies are enforced by the eerie way he talks, whether he’s analyzing a situation or demanding to be in control. He is mesmerizing with his unassuming – almost vulnerable – physical appearance (Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds to play the role) and his not-quite-right demeanor. Almost everything the deranged Bloom does makes the audience shudder.

The thrill and intensity of “Nightcrawler” might seem made-for-the-screen, but are very real for nightcrawlers in Los Angeles. While Bloom’s insanity might be rare for a nightcrawler, rivalries and races to crime scenes are all part of a night for them. Both Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed (Rick) rode along with nightcrawlers to research their roles.

“I think a lot of people watch the movie and think it’s a heightened, very unrealistic version of the job,” said Gyllenhaal in an article in the Los Angeles Times. “But everything that happened in the film either happens all the time or has happened some time.”

Anyone watching “Nightcrawler” is in for many thrilling, dark, and dramatic scenes. Bloom’s gaunt face will haunt theatergoers almost as much the actions he takes to ensure his success in the world. Viewers will leave the film knowing how far a sociopath living alone in Los Angeles can get in this world. Since “Nightcrawler” is rated R, students under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

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