Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed
Director: Dan Gilroy
Running Time: 117 mins
Nightcrawler is an American film about a driven young man looking for work who becomes an independent collector of crime footage in Los Angeles. However, as he is pulled deeper and deeper into this world, his ambition begins to subdue his morality.
Well, you’ve got to admit that this is an absolutely fascinating film, with some of the most intriguing topical themes I’ve seen in a long while, whilst its performances and cinematography are also excellent. However, I didn’t feel it was exciting enough, failing to build sufficient tension to totally engross me in the story.
Let’s start with the positives, the main one of which is the incredible cinematography. It’s an amazingly beautifully shot film, with some of the sleekest imagery you’ll see in a long time, and it also makes the night crime scene not look particularly grungy, like most films, but in fact very bright and bustling, which made this an absolute delight to look at on the surface.
However, it’s not just the surface that’s so impressive about this film, but also the underlying themes are massively intriguing. The prevailing theme is the American Dream and ambition, as well as the current economic situation and its effects on the average everyday man, which you can see very clearly here. However, what I found most interesting was the way it looked at the manipulation of information by the media, and whilst I think that this may have been slightly exaggerated to making the media look totally immoral, it really made me feel quite angry at the news.
Another strength of this film is its performances. Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed do sterling jobs in the supporting roles, whilst Jake Gyllenhaal puts in a thrilling performance as the main character. Although I didn’t find him as haunting as I felt the film necessitated, his almost total lack of morality really made me intrigued in him as a real enigma, based on what his values were and where he placed them in comparison to his own ambition.
However, there is one serious problem with this film, which I felt really prevented it from becoming an incredibly strong movie. It’s just not tense enough. Throughout the film, there are long moments of silence and/or quiet, as well as some big high-octane action sequences, however I felt that they just didn’t ever build enough tension at any point to make it really exciting as well as to pull me deeper into the story, and despite the fact that there is one quick burst of tension in the climactic sequence, the majority of this film is just not suspenseful enough to be so exciting, and that’s why it gets a 7.5.