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REVIEW OF NIGHTCRAWLER STARRING JAKE GYLLENHAAL

year: 2014 rating: ***
With an emaciated frame, piercing eyes and sharply curved cheekbones, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom resembles a jester’s puppet let loose from the box...

After discovering a better way of making fast cash than selling aluminum from stolen fences, he has his mind dead set on a new, exciting and lucrative career...

NIGHTCRAWLER centers on a different form of journalism... During the news, when you see video footage of a crime or accident scene, it's probably not from the network reporting the story.

Bloom, after buying a cheap camera and hiring a reluctant, sketchy and downright annoying partner, learns the ropes the hard way, not always getting to the story on time. These are the most intense, suspenseful and energetic scenes herein. But it’s not long before he has a cozy outlet in a low-rent L.A. based Channel 6, run by Rene Russo’s experienced ex-reporter, Nina. Soon enough… and perhaps too soon… she can’t do without his footage, and he alone holds the cards of a loaded deck.  

Gyllenhaal plays Bloom with the offbeat precision of a used car salesman combined with a calculating serial killer. He’s creepy, wicked, awkwardly charming and completely driven – the kind of antihero readymade for a dark and edgy flick from the 1970’s. But writer/director Dan Gilroy doesn’t quite capture the raw energy of his main character. Even the soundtrack seems part of a standard thriller. It's as if Sydney Pollack directed TAXI DRIVER. 

There’s really two movies going on here: the first, about a motivated shyster eventually wagging the dog and risking his  life for guerrilla footage, is pretty good. The other, centering on a resilient sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, falls short of its eerie, captivating potential.

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