Nightcrawler is an effective media satire that also reflects our baser instincts. The media milks shock value for what it’s worth because there’s a part of us that can’t look away from gruesome tragedies.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a great performance as he embodies an unapologetic asshole that could serve as a stand-in for greedy Wall Street yuppies.
Pretty much like the grotesque videos he turns in that would become media coverage for news, you can’t help but look at how he can sink lower.
The film is sharp and precise as the cinematography and story are devoid of any flourishes. Lou Bloom unashamedly exploits his success as he becomes adept at his job, including trapping a woman into a sexual relationship with him and taking advantage of his inexperienced assistant.
On the other hand, the film doesn’t really have anything else to say and thematically remains flat.
The cast does their best, but the characters remain as one-note caricatures. Lou Bloom is an unrelatable creep who prefers to use corporate-speak and blurts out platitudes in every conversation, while the rest barely have any characterization. They’re all victimized by Bloom who doesn’t suffer any consequences.
The film does its best to be authentic and show the ugly side of the media. But considering Bloom’s ambition, it makes you wonder why he didn’t just do it himself with a website of his own?
This approach would have been a more timely reflection of media in the digital age. User-generated content often trumps traditional channels, to the point that Obama met with YouTube users in an attempt to appeal to the younger demographic. Yuppies now make money from virtual real estate rather than a physical one.
In spite of this Nightcrawler is still a well-executed satire and shows no matter how advanced technology is, human nature is pretty much the same. Instead of circus freak shows, we have reality TV programming. The graphic local gazette is now pixelated news coverage.
Nightcrawler is about mankind’s fascination with shock entertainment and the people who live off of it.
Nightcrawler is a gripping but hollow dark satire of news media with a one-note story and characters.