Edge, Movies

Psychological thriller ‘Nightcrawler’ captivates audiences

Some movies are best experienced in the theater.  For some, like “The Avengers”, the sheer spectacle can only be captured by the big screen and big sound systems.  For others, like “Lawrence of Arabia,” the scope and scale can be properly conveyed. And yet for others, such as “Nightcrawler,” one needs to see it in a theater for the audience.

The combination of amusement, befuddlement, horror and revulsion evoked by this movie is something that should be experienced in a group.  There were countless moments when the audience would burst into laughter, and then, moments later, stop silent, attempting to process if what they just saw was funny, just awkward, or something far darker.

The film follows down-on-his-luck loser, Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal), as he enters the sleazy, yet lucrative, world of freelance crime journalism.  Speaking mainly in regurgitated platitudes from career seminars, Lou seems off from the beginning.  But as the film progresses, the depths of his cruelty and insanity are explored, and the audience is left baffled whether to laugh, boo or avert their eyes to his horrifying actions.

Gyllenhaal excels in what may be one of the best portrayals of sociopathy ever put to film.  Rounding out the cast is Rene Russo as Nina, the shrill graveyard-shift newswoman who purchases Lou’s footage, and Riz Ahmed as Rick, his beleaguered, naive assistant.  Nina’s blunt indifference to ethics is delightfully sinister, and yet she still manages to make the audience sympathetic as Lou ruthlessly undermines her. Ahmed’s Rick is sympathetic, and manages to elicit pity without ire, a difficult task.

The movie is unflinchingly dark, yet juxtaposes the horrors Lou commits and the bizarre detachment he approaches them with.  It takes beats and inspiration from films like cynical news classic, “Ace in the Hole,” ratings race satire “Network,” and the destructive, monomaniacal craze of characters such as Daniel Plainview from “There Will Be Blood.”

However, the story is firmly a modern one, weaving its story out of the corrosive cultural effects of the current economic recession.  The pacing is solid, and although the film starts fairly slow, events quickly compound and spiral, creating a strong sense of tension.

“Nightcrawler” is a must see.  Clever and cruel in equal measure, it’s the rare film that is both a pleasure to watch in the moment, and will stay with the audience long after departing the theater.

November 5, 2014

Reporters

Blake Weil


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

He’s all grown up. Yet University of Miami defensive end Scott Patchan is only 20. Two reconstructiv ...

Michael Rumph, former Cane cornerback and current cornerbacks coach, has mentioned, along with every ...

N’Kosi Perry, definitely on the quiet side, met the media for the first time on Monday. He’s the Mia ...

On a day in which University of Miami football coach Mark Richt said veteran quarterbacks Malik Rosi ...

Week three of fall camp began today, and the first practice after Saturday’s first scrimmage of camp ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

Former University of Miami Dean of Students William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr. passed away on August 6 a ...

Researchers use a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar to show an in ...

UM’s First Star Academy supports foster care youth. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.