Louis "Lou" Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a driven young man who sees a future career as a stringer, a freelance cameraman who films violent accidents and brutal crimes to sell to television news outlets. He discovers he has a talent and interest in this activity, and begins to gain more and more success. But his behaviour, already on the border of decency, slips, and he starts going to extreme lengths to get the best footage.
Gyllenhaal is phenomenally creepy with an unsettling charm that lures both business associates and the audience. The warped Bloom, with his frightening focus and unhinged outlook on life provides an arresting lead into the pseudo-world that is overly sensationalised media. But the skewed reality extends to overt corporation and the isolating affects it and media have on lives. Sometimes these jabs at mass media and business become a little redundant and clichéd. But when viewed as a distorted character study, through the prism of Bloom, who views the world through this media lens and interacts and negotiates life in business jargon, the film really takes hold. “It looks so real on the news”, Bloom says in woeful awe to a backdrop of the Los Angeles cityscape in the studio. He has indeed found his niche in this world, where the hyper-reality of the news and the detachment of business can fuel his strained waking hours.
Nightcrawler is an alluringly repugnant neo-noir thriller with a sensational lead performance.