An Amoral Pursuit a Gaunt Jake Gyllenhaal Dives into the Seamy Side of TV News

By Vancheri, Barbara | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

An Amoral Pursuit a Gaunt Jake Gyllenhaal Dives into the Seamy Side of TV News


Vancheri, Barbara, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Jake Gyllenhaal looks haunted and hungry in "Nightcrawler," thanks to the 30 pounds he shed and the image of a coyote he kept fixed in his mind while making the movie.

Like a vampire, though, he comes out at night and feasts on the blood of accident victims or home invasions or fatal shootings. His character Lou Bloom starts off as a thief, stealing and peddling copper wire, chain-link fencing and manhole covers to a scrap yard and relieving a suspicious security guard of his watch, for starters.

Everything changes, though, when Lou happens upon a car crash and a freelance camera crew shooting footage they successfully sell to a news station. The veteran stringer (Bill Paxton) repeats that worn adage about local TV: "If it bleeds, it leads."

Lou, a go-getter who lives a solitary existence and devours and regurgitates self-help tips gleaned from the Internet, finds he has a talent for being a "Nightcrawler." He acquires the tools of the trade - cameras, police scanners and even an underpaid intern (Riz Ahmed) - and a willing partner in crime footage.

That would be Nina (Rene Russo), a onetime reporter turned news director who works the overnight shift at the lowest rated station in Los Angeles. She needs his footage and he needs the money and likes speeding around the streets at night, trying to beat the competition or, better yet, the cops.

Lou doesn't hesitate to cross the line at crime scenes. Heck, he doesn't even know a line exists and he doesn't care.

He responds to a call where the stakes couldn't be higher and neither may the paycheck, risks and possible police attention in this cynical look at television news where nothing lures viewers like "urban crime creeping into the suburbs" as Nina puts it. …

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