I did have the good fortune to see this in the theater recently, and thought that even though I had originally wanted to write about old, forgotten about movies, I would write about this one too. Actually what I wanted to do was write about movies that I watched that did not have cult followings, but which I thought deserved cult followings. In short, I have at multiple times changed the idea behind this blog. But it is still movies! I won't review my tape dispenser here, for example.
Okay, Nightcrawler. From a guy who hasn't done much in Hollywood, written some screenplays and thats about it, this is a pretty impressive feat. You can tell it has the background of a screenwriter behind it as most of the movie is dialogue heavy. In fact, there is a lot of things that is stated by the main character that normally would be the clever parts of a book, the parts that don't get translated onto the screen well and make you think, "eh, the book was better".
I say this a compliment. The dialogue really makes this movie. If it relied on long shots of the characters staring moodily at things, or if it had some other tactic that propelled it, it might not have made the effect it did. Instead it has the main character, played with zest by a perfectly cast Jake Gyllenhaal, saying some of the most interesting, weird, and extremely precise things ever uttered in a film.
It has to be this reason that I left the theater smiling. I was replaying some of those witty dialogue moments in my head. They are just extremely well done, the dialogue here is the prizewinner. The plot? Well, it's interesting too.
Louis Bloom is an odd person, and though we never figure out everything about him, we know from the first shot that he is a criminal. A criminal, a risk taker, and a very "complicated" guy. And that's before he discovers what appears to be his dream job. Driving home one day from his day to day life, he sees a car accident that has just happened. And he witnesses the news crew there, filming the accident, and then making a call and getting paid for the footage. It is at this moment Louis decides that's what he wants to do.
I think this is one where the plot takes a back seat to characters, creepiness, and general other stuff going on. The plot is strong but I think mostly it exists to show us what this character, Louis, is capable of, to show him as un-human, as a manipulator, as a user and abuser, and worse: as a master controller and influence to others bad side of themselves. Sometimes this is done abruptly, other times it's done through methods. All in all, it does work, and we come off believing it.
The best thing about this movie is that once it ends, and the ending sucks by the way, I had this feeling. This feeling that I knew why it ended the way it did. I don't know for sure, I have done zero research, but I get the distinct feeling Louis Bloom is based off of somebody the writer/director Dan Gilroy knows.
Why? Because of the ending. In the same twisted way that American Psycho's Patrick Bateman is based off of the father of author Bret Easton Ellis. I would ask him that if I could. To Dan Gilroy I mean, I would ask if its based on someone he knows past or present.
Anyway, original idea, some unexpected turns, awesome dialogue, it's worth checking out.