"A friend is a gift you give yourself." Sound creepy? No? Well wait until you hear Jake Gyllenhaal say it.
"Nightcrawler" is Dan Gilroys directorial debut, and boy, does he deliver. The movie follows Lou Bloom, a thief and generally unnerving fellow, who finds his calling when he observes the work of a nightcrawler, independent film crews that drive around the city trying to gather footage of accidents, violent crimes and anything shocking. "If it bleeds, it leads."
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou, who, as we quickly find out, learned his people skills exclusively from an online business course. Hell, I thought Idris Elba was creepy last week, compared to Lou Bloom, I would probably invite him in for coffee and call up Hannibal Lecter to come along too, just for good measure. Gyllenhaal has found his best role so far in this movie, and he doesn't let it go to waste. We know very little about Lou, but what we know and see is extremely unsettling, elevated by Gyllenhaals monstrous performance.
His main acting partners are Rene Russo as Nina, whom he sells his tapes to, and Riz Ahmed as Rick, a young man Lou enlists as his navigator. Both play off very well from Gyllenhaal and show the ethical sides to the business they are conducting.
Additionally, the cinematography by Robert Elswit should be noted. Los Angeles looks amazing and Elswit finds something so fascinating about the nightly streets, it completely draws you in. This effect is only heightened by a great original score by James Newton Howard, who understands the need to give this story its very own feeling.
And what a story it is. It is driven by Lous extreme dedication to the further development of his upstart business and mixes elements of thriller, crime and drama. This is done very skillfully, so that the movie never becomes boring.
Overall, this is an amazing piece of film, especially considering that Gilroy is a first-time director. I am very interested in seeing what is next from him, almost as interested in seeing Gyllenhaal show more of the truly captivating acting he has done for this character.
Apparently, box office numbers for this movie are not that great, so that might hurt its chances to get nominated for an Academy Award, but this is clearly of that material, and in the best way possible.