With­out morals or monsters

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film Reviews - David Strat­ton

THE ti­tle makes this first film di­rected by screen­writer Dan Gil­roy sound like a creepy hor­ror movie, and in a sense it is, though the monsters de­picted are all too hu­man. The film is, in fact, a cri­tique of the ex­treme lengths to which the tabloid me­dia — in this case a Los An­ge­les tele­vi­sion sta­tion — will go to at­tract rat­ings. In this re­spect it harks back to clas­sic movies such as Net­work (1976) and Broad­cast News (1987), though its true an­tecedent is Billy Wilder’s sav­age Ace in the Hole (1951), in which Kirk Dou­glas’s jour­nal­ist will stop at noth­ing to get a sen­sa­tional story.

The pro­tag­o­nist in Gil­roy’s film, the “nightcrawler” of the ti­tle, is no jour­nal­ist, how­ever. Louis Bloom, played with twitchy in­ten­sity by Jake Gyl­len­haal in one of his best per­for­mances, is a scav­enger, an op­por­tunist, but a smart one with a ca­pac­ity of learn­ing quickly how to seize any chance, no mat­ter how un­likely, to get ahead. We first meet Bloom when he’s steal­ing wire fenc­ing and man­hole cov­ers; when he at­tempts to sell them to a shady builder, he also asks about a job, as­sur­ing the man he’s a hard worker who sets him­self high goals. “I’m not hir­ing a thief,” is the sen­si­ble re­sponse.

But set­backs such as this don’t de­ter Bloom, and when by chance he sees a free­lance cam­era­man (Bill Pax­ton) at work, a new world opens up to him. He ac­quires a cheap cam­era and a Nightcrawler (MA15+) Na­tional re­lease A Thou­sand Times Good Night (M) Limited re­lease Jimmy’s Hall (M) Limited re­lease

A Thou­sand Times Good Night; Nightcrawler;

Jimmy’s Hall

From above, Niko­laj CosterWal­dau and Juli­ette Binoche in Jake Gyl­len­haal and Rene Russo in the heart­felt but sim­plis­tic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.