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

The Miami Hurricanes found new life Saturday — despite so much seemingly going wrong. Big plays on o ...

At least in terms of their bowl situation, the Miami Hurricanes can take a deep, collective breath. ...

Thoughts, notes, reaction and postscripts after UM’s 38-14 win on Saturday at Virginia Tech, making ...

There wasn’t much energy in the Watsco Center stands on Saturday afternoon as most University of Mia ...

View photos from the Bethune-Cookman wildcats at Miami Hurricanes in a NCAA college basketball game ...

UM Libraries is presenting an extraordinary exhibit that immerses the audience in an emotional journ ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

Students, faculty and staff stopped by the School of Architecture’s Korach Gallery to learn what Mag ...

The On Campus event featured innovative National Geographic Explorers—photographers, scientists, sto ...

The Canes got back to their winning ways with an impressive 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech. ...

20-point performances from Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic led Miami past Bethune-Cookman. ...

Seniors Kolby Bird and Haley Templeton will play in their final match at the James L. Knight Sports ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team is headed to Iowa State for the Preseason WNIT champio ...

The Canes hit the road for the final time in the 2018 regular season and it is to a familiar and hos ...

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.