Cinematic Releases: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler hit cinemas tonight. Does Gyllenhaal do it again?

"You talkin' to me?
You talkin' to me?"
Jake Gyllenhaal continues his upward trend of dramatic brilliance in this week's release, Nightcrawler. This is the fourth film in a row where Gyllenhaal sheds any former sense of self and throws himself at a role with focused abandonment and unabashed dedication to creating a vivid and disturbing portrayal of a strange man sliding off the rails.

With Nightcrawler, Gyllenhall becomes a chameleon like creature that leaves all reality behind as he fixates on one major task. He becomes the idiosyncratic and oft times unhinged Louis Bloom, leaving all traces of himself behind in a film that just might win him an Oscar.

In fact, Nightcrawler holds many similarities to the cinematic classic, Taxi Driver in both its representation of obsession and its socially inept, awkward leaning lead character. There are many parallels that can be drawn between Gyllenhaal's Louis Bloom and DeNiro's Travis Bickle. Nightcrawler takes some of the noted personality traits of the formative Bickle and transcribes them to a newer, modern screenplay with Jake Gyllenhaal advancing his character to the furthest limits of strange behavior, methodical eccentricity and ethical escapism.

Nightcrawler attacks modern themes about current news media, ambulance chasing cameramen, and the producers that feed their addiction to cold hard cash. Its topics and questions of morality are abundantly clear as first time director Dan Gilroy makes a movie that's engaging, thought provoking, darkly comedic at times, and hints at numerous other films that may have inspired him. The cinematography and soundtrack music are eerily reminiscent of numerous 80's films including that other movie about obsession, Body Double. Notably, Brian DePalma's influence can be felt all over Nightcrawler as Gilroy tips his directorial hat to this most obvious source of creative motivation.

"You? No. You'll never be as
cool as me. Keep trying, buddy."
Nightcrawler is smart film making that doesn't take its audience for granted. It's a nearly perfect story that is high on character development, realistically slanted in its representation of modern news, and never assumes its audience is only there to see gruesome acts unfold. This pairing of Gilroy and Gyllenhaal provides a film that will be a strong contender against Gone Girl this coming Academy Award season.

This is a must see for film buffs that will enjoy all the nods and winks to its cinematic forefathers. But, Nightcrawler will also appeal to the casual filmgoer that enjoys great acting, beautiful cinematography, and excellent use of music. Nightcrawler is in the top ten of 2014. Make sure to see it this weekend.