Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a gaunt chancer looking for a career-change in Los Angeles. He stumbles into the life of freelance news reporting, recording some of the most horrific crimes on his camcorder to sell to local news stations. His ambition outweighs his morals as he looks to create a legacy, no matter who or what stands in his way.
Jake Gyllenhaal shines as Louis Bloom and hands in one of his best career performances to date. Gyllenhaal is simply electric and hands in a cult performance that will be remembered for years to come. He perfectly balances the jovial with the sinister whilst never losing the audience. It’s a very tough balance to get right but Gyllenhaal excels in making Louis Bloom a very memorable character that gets under your skin.
Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Riz Armed hand in stellar support too with Armed in particular doing well as the hapless assistant to Gyllenhaal. Their dynamic is perfect as they bounce off one another with sharp and quick dialogue that positively sparks. Bill Paxton only has a cameo but it’s a pivotal one and a role he does very well with, especially given how little screen-time he has. Rene Russo is her usual reliable self and creates a curiously watchable rapport with Gyllenhaal’s character that always keeps you on your toes.
The film is shot beautifully and oozes style, threat and faded glamour, with a deliciously dark streak of humour piercing the drama. At times this evokes comparison to Drive, with the night-time shoots and car sequences being a particular highlight. The soundtrack compliments this too and gives Nightcrawler a good sense of style and personality.
Writer/director Dan Gilroy has created a real cult classic here and a film that deserves a huge audience. He even gets the balance right with comedy as the film regularly raises nervous laughter. With Gyllenhaal on mesmerising form and a collective cast of stellar support, Nightcrawler comes in as one of the best surprises of last year. Full of drama, tension, style and action, Nightcrawler is a captivating watch that will hold your attention throughout.