Monday, 3 November 2014
Nightcrawler (5 Stars)
If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket.
It's rare that a film that I watch in the cinema fascinates me as much as "Nightcrawler". I expected it to be good, based on Empire's review and various trailers, but it still managed to exceed my expectations. It takes place mostly at night, but the film doesn't make the mistake of letting the images be too dark. We can clearly see everything that happens.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, an ambitious young man who will do anything to be successful. In normal films the main characters follow arcs which chart their development from one state to another. This film follows a type of anti-character-arc. Lou doesn't really move, he's the same person from the beginning to the end of the film. The arc is in the viewer's perception of him. When the film begins we see him as a thief and feel sceptical of him. Then we grow to like him, impressed by his determination to make money by hard work. Then we grow to hate him, disgusted by his ruthlessness. It's only our attitude that has changed. As we're reminded in a final scene when we see a close-up of the watch he stole at the beginning, he's still the same person. He would still steal to make money, if necessary.
Lou is a young man who stumbles into a career as a freelance photo journalist, riding the streets at night looking for opportunities to film car crashes and crime scenes. The more blood the more he gets paid. As the film develops, he isn't just satisfied with filming the news, he begins to manipulate events to make his footage more lurid.
Jake Gyllenhaal puts on an amazing performance. He's no longer the young boy who amazed me in "Donnie Darko" almost 15 years ago. He's developed a mature talent which will guarantee him many years as a top actor.