Nightcrawler (2014) [5/5]

THE CITY SHINES BRIGHTEST AT NIGHT.

When Lou Bloom, desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran.

Wow, I was not expecting to love this film as much as I do. There have been so many amazing movies this year (2014): Boyhood, Inherent Vice and Gone Girl, just to name a few - for me, nothing will probably come close to topping Xavier Dolan's Mommy, as it was one of the most personal cinematic experiences that I've ever had - but I think that I may have found my second favorite film of the year. I'll have to digest this one for a little while longer, and I'll probably have to re-visit it, but Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in the film is by far, by far my favorite display of acting that I've seen in 2014. Beyond Rosamund Pike, beyond Steve Carell, beyond Marion Cotillard; Lou Bloom IS Nightcrawler. The performance is the movie. And the performance, well... just see the damn film if you haven't already. It's one of the most memorable portrayals of a sociopath/psychopath that I can recall: completely out of touch with reality and completely lacking empathy. It's strange, strange stuff outside the realm of things that a normal human being is capable of understanding. And it's hard for me to believe that Gyllenhaal will be able to deliver a more realized performance in the future, but then again, I said that after Prisoners, and then I said that after Enemy... and here we are. Dan Gilroy's script is superb - it's clever, it's satirical, it's demented; it's everything that I look for in a screenplay when I want to watch a really fucked up movie, and trust me, Nightcrawler will deliver more than its fair share of fuckedupness. And yet it's also hysterical as it's absurd: a dark psychodrama, a crime-thriller and a hilarious critique of the media all in one. Well worth your time. I'll close by saying that 2014 has been a great year for compositional works... I believe that soundtracks/scores are growing in complexity with regard to how well they represent the mental and emotional states of characters. Some might argue that Nightcrawler's score might not fit the film; you're damn right that it doesn't, and it doesn't for a reason. Does Lou Bloom fit in our society, our world? No, god no... the man needs to be locked up in a maximum security prison for at least six hundred years. My point is, when a composer is able to craft a score that highlights the deranged psychology of the anti-hero, as Trent Reznor did with Gone Girl and James Newton Howard did here, it really adds another layer of depth to the narrative from an aesthetic/atmospheric standpoint. It helps place the audience in, or at least close to the mind of a character that's unhinged to the point of being impossible to understand. Brilliant work here from everyone on board, including Robert Elswit, who consistently conjures up images that make you want to turn to the person sitting next to you and say holy guacamole. I can't wait to watch this again.

-Eli Hayes