'Nightcrawler' Review Roundup: Jake Gyllenhaal Crime Thriller Wins With Critics
Nightcrawler follows Lou Bloom, a small time crook who realizes he can make a living in Los Angeles reporting on the crime in the city's seedy underbelly.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou in Nightcrawler, embodying the young man's hunger for the next story. Playing Lou's boss, TV-news veteran Nina, is Rene Russo. Working in tandem, Lou and Bloom feed off the adrenaline rush of chasing a story. Instead of fretting over high-brow journalism, they want the bloodiest stories and the sensational headlines that will sell newspapers and get them money.
Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler has impressed critics. The movie itself is a gruesome thriller that doesn't pull any punches and weaves humor into the dark plot. As for Gyllenhaal and Russo, their performances have been lauded, both embodying the amoral hustle of their characters.
“While “Nightcrawler” plays first and foremost as a lurid, borderline-satirical thriller about a disturbed individual who pushes the disturbed logic of 21st-century media to its ultimate conclusion, Gilroy clearly has some larger questions in view, along with a cinematic legacy that includes “Taxi Driver,” “Network” and Michael Powell’s 1960 shocker “Peeping Tom,” a movie whose influence only continues to grow." – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
"Nightcrawler is pulp with a purpose. A smart, engaged film powered by an altogether remarkable performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, it is melodrama grounded in a disturbing reality, an extreme scenario that is troubling because it cuts close to the bone. The theme of Nightcrawler, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, is the excesses of the "if it bleeds, it leads" culture of local television news, a world where the words "what you are about to see is graphic" are both a warning and a come-on.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Writer-director Dan Gilroy wants it both ways — snarling comedy and gripping thriller — and for the most part he gets what he wants. Nightcrawler wouldn’t pack the same punch without Gyllenhaal, who pulls off something very tricky: a highly charismatic performance that highlights the dangers of charisma. Eyes twinkling, mouth running a mile a minute, Lou is the kind of hustler smart people stay clear of, unless they realize they can use him to make some money.” – Chris Vogner, Dallas Morning News
“Nightcrawler’s most salient — and sobering — point isn’t that soldiers of misfortune such as Lou exist, but the degree to which mainstream media has jumped into bed with them, pandering to the public’s shameful appetites (suggesting one more movie for the shared-DNA list: “Gone Girl”). The film ultimately turns its rancid gaze on the audience itself, questioning the bull market for lurid true-crime tales, even as crime rates are actually going down. “Is that blood on your shirt?” Nina asks Lou at one point. Yes, and it’s on his hands — and hers, and everyone else’s — too.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Nightcrawler, rated R, is currently in wide release.