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
  • HurricaneSports

Navaughn Donaldson knew one thing mattered above all when he was forced to start playing center ahea ...

This spring hasn’t been easy for Miami redshirt sophomore Tate Martell, the former Ohio State quarte ...

The 2019-20 college basketball season is more than six months away, but the University of Miami Hurr ...

The University of Miami spring game Saturday will be here before you know it, and right about now, c ...

With about a third of the regular season left, the Miami Hurricanes baseball team is on the rise and ...

The Division of Student Affairs hosted a reception to present campus-wide awards and scholarships to ...

The University of Miami celebrates Earth Day with a host of activities at or near the Lakeside Patio ...

The nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society inducted 45 students from the Colle ...

For the second installment of its “What Matters to U” lecture series, Student Government invited act ...

There is at least one member of House Hurricane in the Seven Kingdoms: alumnus David Nutter, who sha ...

The Canes will battle the Cardinals this weekend in a battle of ranked ACC foes. ...

Michelle Atherley earned the University of Miami track and field program's fourth ACC outdoor h ...

Canes' recruiting class now stands 25th in 247Sports Composite Ranking. ...

Miami head women's basketball coach Katie Meier announced Wednesday the signing of Moulayna Joh ...

The fifth-seeded and No. 21-ranked Miami women's tennis team begins ACC Championship action Thu ...

TMH Twitter
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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.