Really Disturbing News
Nightcrawler is written and directed by Dan Gilroy and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed. Apparently it won lots of awards, too, so it must be good, right?
I watched this movie with no information on it. I never saw any trailers, didn't read the description, just saw the name and that it came out last year. The name sounded interesting, so I thought, "Why not?"
Nightcrawler... It has a name that makes you think of a superhero or villain, or maybe some ugly monster stalking people at some campground. Not in this case. Instead, it is a nickname being tagged to those independent camera operators who scream from one location to another just to capture all that gruesome footage you see on the news broadcasts. Even that sounds kind of interesting, but after watching it for two hours, it made me feel the world was filled with even more evil than I thought.
I never really cared for the modern news agencies, either TV, newspaper, internet... whatever. I saw them as biased entities that wouldn't think twice before committing a crime just so they could get an exclusive and boost their ratings. Although, if there's any truth to this movie, they are nothing compared to the ones shooting the images or videos we were seeing. We always hear about the paparazzi being a major pain for celebrities, and news crews getting the way of the police. Well, imagine working at a job where your goals are capturing someone's painful moments every day, or worse, their death – could you do that?
I definitely think that this career might just round out the top three of my list of the most awful careers that employ the worst of humanity. The other two being criminal lawyers – who profit by getting criminals out of jail – and social workers – who tear apart families just because they think they know what's better for us.
Sorry, I got a bit off topic there. And, yes, I know this is just a movie about a psychopath with a camera, but we still hear the stories, so there's obviously some truth to this type of career.
Anyway... So Nightcrawler follows Louis "Lou" Bloom, a lowly criminal who gets a taste of witnessing gruesome scenes, and decides to begin jumping to crime scenes and accidents just to capture the video and sell it to TV channels. The movie starts of calmly enough... Okay, the first hour was boring. I'm not just talking about fall asleep watching the movie boring, I'm talking about finding something else that's on because it is just "blah" feeling.
The problem was, none of the characters felt interesting. Sure there aren't many main characters, but they all felt like people I'd never want to meet. Not because they were scary, but because they are the scum of humanity. Lou's assistant, Rick, was actually the best of them all, but even he was willing to be part of it, as long as he got paid. It's very difficult to get into this type of movie if you can't find anything to like in the characters.
The second half was slightly more entertaining, but thanks to the disgust I had for the characters, and the lack of interest what they were doing, it still was barely watchable. The plot certainly got more entertaining, albeit stupid and insane, but at least it was going somewhere.
The biggest problem was, the lack of any tension. When these "Nightcrawlers" were in places they shouldn't be, or about to capture something horrific, they tried to make the scene feel suspenseful, but it really just felt like one of those found-footage films with a second camera filming the amateur. This was probably because I never did care if the characters lived or died since I saw them as horrible people. Even the death scene and the restaurant shootout felt numb.
For a thriller to be good, we need the story to build characters we can relate to, who we want to survive, then throw them into a bad situation where they may or may not make it out intact. Since the characters were a bust, I didn't care enough when they were put into a bad situation. It doesn't help that they wouldn't be in those bad situations if they weren't the evil attention-grabbing fools that they were.
I'm not going to spoil anything about the ending, but let's just say I hated it, too.
While there is so much of this movie that I dislike - no, I should probably just use hate – there was one good think in Nightcrawler – the car chases. Those scenes were filmed so well that it almost felt like I was along for the very dangerous ride, which made them, by far, the best part of the whole movie. I don't condone driving like a maniac, but at least it gave something that slightly resembled fun in what was a very boring and distasteful movie.
So, who should watch this "thriller" film? Well, I don't really know since I don't know anyone who found this remotely entertaining, aside from the chase scenes I mentioned. I talked to several people at work, friends, and family members after watching this movie and anyone who watched it said it was "trash" or "a waste of time." Somehow, this movie is rated pretty high on IMDb and metacritic, so someone must have found something to like. Does the American demographic just have a drastically different tastes than Canadians when it comes to thrillers?
If you enjoyed this movie, let us know why in the comments below – just try not to spoil too much to help others decide whether to watch this movie or avoid it like it's a plague rat.