The Nightcrawler

 

There may be more to this film than meets the eye. The hero, Louis Bloom – Bloom! – is a predator, a jackal or vulture who preys on the vulnerable or dead. Stopped in a petty burglary, he mugs the nightwatchman for a shiny watch. Then he gets the idea of filming crime and accident scenes at night and selling the film to those mindless bottom-grazers on morning TV – ‘if it bleeds, it leads’. What could be better – preying on the vulnerable or the dead and trading in human misery? He hires a down-and-out whom he exploits ruthlessly. He gets under the skin of a news director whose star has faded, and she too is vulnerable to his exploitation – and corruption. Bloom is a simpleton who parrots management speak that he has picked up on the Net. He is a petty geek gone very wrong. He has neither brains nor conscience, but the froideur of an SS functionary. Jake Gyllenhaal is a spectral apparition who holds the audience between squirming and tittering. He resembles Pacino at times, but those shots in the car reveal wide eyes that challenge you to identify the frozen emptiness behind him. Rene Russo is very strong and appealing as the desperate faded pro. Bloom may be a metaphor for our trading corporations and their call centres – the hero has no personality, but he is driven by a machined business plan that leaves him utterly without heart or conscience. This is a different kind of American film that has a lot to say about the death of God and the Kingdom of Nothingness.

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