Jake Gyllenhaal exhilarates viewers in ‘Nightcrawler’

“Nightcrawler” creeps up behind you and takes you by surprise with its hypnotic, unflinching acting performances and impeccable direction that make it a fantastic portrayal of the lengths some people will go to in order to get what they want.


Jake Gyllenhaal had to lose 30 pounds for his role in “Nightcrawler.”  |  Image courtesy of Open Road Films

Director Dan Gillroy  hones in on a facet of our media that’s as questionable as it is fascinating. The fact that there are these videographers that attempt to film gruesome crimes and then sell them to news outlets is somewhat upsetting, but it does make sense in some twisted way. Gilroy’s exploration of this niche industry is very precise as he tracks the ups and downs of how everything works, managing to keep his lens steady and crisp all throughout the film. He keeps us right in-front of the action as it’s happening and when he doesn’t, he’s gracing us with breathtaking aerial shots of Los Angeles.

Jake Gyllenhaal provides a remarkable turn in this film. After losing 30-pounds, practicing his inflection and not blinking for minutes at a time, Gyllenhaal arrived at a truly complex character. Not only is his delivery spectacular and enticing, but his questionable mental state makes him all the more interesting to explore throughout the film. The intensity that he brings to his performance is exceptional, and this may be his best performance yet.

It was very refreshing to see Rene Russo again, and she does a wonderful job in her role. It also helps that her role is a juicy one and allows her to stretch her acting legs. She brings a pleasant energy at first and then divulges in these immoral habits that twist her character and lead her down a dark path. Russo and Gyllenhaal have an electric and dark chemistry that makes the film even more enjoyable than it already is.

When you put all of these impressive elements together, you get a final product that is visually and aesthetically pleasing and something that really grabs hold of you and takes you for a thrilling ride. In a literal sense, Nightcrawler has THE best car chase of the year and that ride is one that’s full of intense driving, close-up shots, and lots of wreckage that make for a stunning few minutes on-screen.

Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed may not have a ton of time on-screen, but they do wonders with the time they do have. Ahmed especially shines in a supporting turn that’s quite impressive, as he has to work directly with the unbalanced character that Gyllenhaal crafted.

Nightcrawler plays exceptionally well with audiences, as your range of emotions and expressions is sure to be ever-changing as what you watch grows more exhilarating. The film’s score aids the bright and stunning visuals that you behold, and the tense, entrancing performances drawing your attention to the screen never waver. The film is predominately entertaining and fulfilling, except for a few moments where some scenes drag on longer than they should. The film’s ending was slightly questionable, but it made enough sense in retrospect. Other than those minor quarrels, Nightcrawler is a bona fide success that boasts some of the year’s best performances, visuals and dialogue.

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