HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:86
If I had my way, I would write a few words about “Nightcrawler” and then just say “GO WATCH IT!” with enthusiastic glee as it is one of those movies that really benefits from going in blind. “Nightcrawler” is one of those movies that got snubbed at the Oscar’s this year along with several other fantastic films (“Lego Movie” amazingly not even getting a nod), and it’s one that should have had Jake Gyllenhaal in the public eye, being that his performance was a revelation. A role that is on par with Heath Ledger’s fantastic performance of The Joker before his untimely demise. After watching “Nightcrawler” I’m in even more shock why this taught little thriller didn’t even get a simple nomination from the Hollywood elite, as it is one of the most taught and intense thrillers that I have seen all year, and a movie that really shows just how far Jake Gyllenhaal has grown from his days doing movies like “Prince of Persia” and “Bubble Boy”.
Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a highly driven, but rather disturbed young man. Making a living at the beginning of the movie by ripping off copper and other metals and selling it to a fly by night construction firm. Spouting off jingoistic self-help type language he obviously wants to make his dent in the world and soon finds it in the world of late night crime television. Stumbling upon an accident he watches the seedy paparazzi type photographers who get up close and personal when the blood and guts start spilling and then sell the footage to the highest bidding news station to be splashed about on the daily news, and enthralling your average viewer. Grabbing a camera and watching the photographers (dubbed Nightcrawlers), he soon starts getting footage of his own, and starts selling it to a local news station, managed by Nina Romina (Renee Russo).
Now, before I go on I must re-iterate that “Nightcrawler” is best gone in with as little info as possible, so I do warn that there will be a few spoilers in the next paragraph, so enter at your own risk.
Realizing that he can’t do this along, Louis hires an assistant in the form of a desperate young man by the name of Rick (Riz Ahmed). Scouring the police bands all night, the two jump from one grisly homicide, carjacking, blood spattered accident trying to scoop the completion as fast as they can get the gore up on the news first. Louis is a brutal task master and keeps Rick running at peak capacity, but still, he doesn’t require anything that he wouldn’t do himself (which isn’t much). Blackmailing Nina into giving him more and more money, with more and more publicity, Louis is pushing himself to actual legitimacy, even if he has to do some despicable things to get there, including tamper with crime scenes and set up scenarios where a crime will occur in order to get the scoop.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38146[/img]I felt drained at the end of “Nightcrawler”, thoroughly exhausted, and sitting there with my jaw open in utter amazement at what I just saw. Louis Bloom is one of those protagonists that you can’t say is a “hero” of the movie. He’s despicable, loathsome and thoroughly unredeemable, but you can’t take your eyes off of him the whole time. Director Dan Gilroy did a FANTASTIC job at making the viewer hate Louis, but at the same time catch themselves almost rooting for the guy as you see him trying to build his business. A clinical sociopath, Louis doesn’t twirl his mustache and cause mass hysteria in Gotham city, or usher in the apocalypse, but instead is so devoid of empathy and humanity, all the while portraying the perfect veneer as a kind and hardworking man. “Nightcrawler” is one of those movies where you sit glued to the screen, almost horrified to watch what’s next, as you see Louis roar through the underbelly of L.A., jumping from crime to crime, with the sensitivity of a raging bull. The first real scoop he gets you see his capabilities as he very bluntly just rams his camera a few feet from a person who was brutally stabbed in a carjacking, with about as much empathy and sympathy as the murderer himself. I never used to understand why my brother and father in law (both cops) would complain about the press at the scene of an accident, but after watching the vicious, backstabbing, almost paparazzi style of trying to get the best photograph of someone lying on a stretcher I can understand why.
The movie is part satire of the news, part satire of us, and part thriller. Leaving the audience enthralled and impressed. We saw the news lampooned a bit with “Anchorman 2”, with them taking jabs at how news stations have evolved from showing NEWS, and instead focusing on exciting things like car crashes, robberies, and running stories about “how safe is your neighborhood” to ensure ratings. This takes it to a whole new level as you realize that Louis isn’t going to get his due. He climbs his way up the success ladder on the backs of victims, taking advantage of their pain and then taking advantage of us as viewers who have our eyes glued to the horror. I know I’ve caught myself doing it, glossing most of the news station until all of a sudden everyone is glued to the TV as we watch a bombing in some city, or a car crash that has shut down the interstate etc. Dan Gilroy very delicately plays Louis as someone who is completely horrible, but then manages to weave into it a subtle tale of how was as consumers feed into that very same circle of destruction as Nina and the rest of the news world “give the viewers what they want”.
Rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38154[/img]95% percent of “Nightcrawler” is shot at the dead of night, as the camera’s catch every moment of the seedy lifestyle of a nightcrawler. The picture is faithful to the rough and gritty texture that Gilroy required, while never lacking detail. There is a nice layer of grain, and a subdued color palette, accentuated by the bright, flaming red of Louis’ charger. Every bit of detail is still quite visible and you can see the taught skin on Gyllenhaal’s face and the hollow look of his sleep deprived eyes with remarkable accuracy. Black levels are deep and inky, never failing to satisfy as every bit of shadow detail is available for our viewing pleasure and there are none of the nasty weaknesses such as crush or washing out to mar the image. The disc itself is devoid of compression issues and there appears to be no instances of banding or edge enhancement on the disc. Really an incredible looking picture.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38162[/img]Universal’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track is one of those less “in your face” tracks that’s done right. Sacrificing aggressive LFE and nonstop action, it uses the subtleties and nuances of a sonic recording to make an incredibly immersive track. The majority of the time we are listening to Louis talk, and while the dialog is fantastic, I was really surprised to realize that all the speakers were pretty much constantly active. The little noises of the night time come through with incredible precision. The red charger roars with power when it comes into the picture and lights up the LFE channel with some great power, but the night life of L.A. shifts and morphs, much like the city does, as he travels. The clicking of a door shutting in the background, the soft crunching as Louis’ feet step over the carpet in a house he’s filming, the rustling of papers in the News station, all are constantly engaging all 6 speakers and creating a 360 degree field of immersion for the listeners. There is a sort of raw energy that flows through the mix, invigorating, yet delicate at the same time. Probably one of my favorite non action tracks of the year.
• Audio Commentary with Writer/director Dan Gilroy, producer Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy
• If It Bleeds, It Leads
I can’t recommend “Nightcrawler” Enough, and despite a couple of lines of dialogue that felt a little bit awkward, it has to be one of the best and most thoughtful thrillers of the last decade. Never pointing the finger directly at any one person, it paints a horrifying, yet mesmerizing, picture of mankind’s sad craving for violence and disturbing lust for the macabre. Jake has come into his own in recent years, making a comeback with “Prisoners”, “Enemy” etc, and has certainly gotten my attention with his versatility. The disc itself looks and sounds incredible, with the only weak spot being the smaller than usual amount of extras. Definitely a must watch, and in my opinion a definite buy.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Directed By: Dan Gilroy
Written By: Dan Gilroy
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 10th 2015
Buy Nighcrawler On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It!
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