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

They were way below the radar coming into the 1983 season. And after their 28-3 opening-game loss to ...

In the opening eight minutes on Saturday — and the final seven minutes — FIU looked like a team that ...

The N’Kosi Perry era is here. Whether it’s here to stay is yet to be seen. The fans got what they wa ...

Ten takeaways from UM’s 31-17 win against FIU on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium: ▪ Credit Mark Richt ...

As the Miami Hurricanes started their third series against the FIU Panthers on Saturday afternoon, t ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

N'Kosi Perry and a dominant Miami defense led the Hurricanes to a 31-17 victory over the Panthe ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team is headed to the championship of one th ...

The Miami women's tennis team posted a 5-2 mark in official matches on the second day of the Mi ...

Freshman Riley Howard continued her incredible start as a Canes cross country runner setting another ...

The University of Miami soccer team is set to host Virginia Tech Sunday at noon at Cobb Stadium. ...

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.