NIGHTCRAWLER – IAFT Movie Review
Louis Bloom solitarily drives the night—to take what he can from it.
Whether it’s a stolen piece of chain link fence to be sold for scrap—or a human tragedy to be exploited—Nightcrawler’s Louis (Jake Gyllenhaal) tries to profit from it.
One night, Louis stops to observe police officers rescuing the victim of a car wreck.
Over their shoulders is a nightcrawler—an independent with a camera—who will then provide the footage to a local TV station—for a price.
Louis, in his thirties, drifting and alone, has instantly found his calling.
With a newly acquired camcorder (bartered for with stolen property)—Louis becomes a nightcrawler.
Louis quickly takes on Rick, a homeless man, as his intern, and establishes exclusivity with Nina (Rene Russo), the graveyard news producer of LA’s lowliest TV station.
Louis doesn’t pay Rick and manipulates Nina, justifying all with organizational catchphrases he claims to have learned from online business courses.
(This spurs a separate discussion of the dangers of providing information—without the opportunity for in-person intellectual discussion.)
Louis’ entrepreneurial climb—is interesting—as it displays the mechanisms of local TV news.
What unfortunately is not interesting—is Louis himself.
The film asks no questions of Louis—nor does he have a shred of introspection.
Louis is introduced as a petty thief, yet even a thief may have a sense of morality.
For Louis, there are no boundaries, no conscience or guilt, which—as expected—leads to the blurring of news gathering, news making, and news reporting.
In the end, Nightcrawler is—exactly what it is about—infotainment—with no questions asked.