Movies

Peter Suderman Reviews Nightcrawler

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Open Road

Here's the opening bit of my review of Nightcrawler from today's Washington Times

In "Nightcrawler," Jake Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, an aimless Los Angeles misanthrope who finds the perfect gig: freelance TV news photographer on the vampire shift, capturing the nocturnal horrors that lead the morning.

Mr. Gyllenhaal looks more than a little like a vampire himself, with his bugged-out eyes, his slicked-back midnight hair, and his sharply angled facial features, as if too-little skin has been stretched around too much skull.

He rarely blinks, and when he smiles, or scowls, or expresses anything with his face at all, it has the feel of a too-well practiced maneuver, a simulacra of emotion rather than the real thing.

Mr. Gyllenhaal's Bloom is the heart and soul of "Nightcrawler," which is to say that it hasn't got one. Instead, it is fascinatingly empty — a dark, shocking, bitingly funny profile of a person who is not really a person.

Bloom is an anti-hero in the tradition of both Patrick Bateman in "American Pyscho" and Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver," a movie that "Nightcrawler" coyly references in its opening moments.

But writer-director Dan Gilroy gives Bloom's alienation a distinctly modern twist: Instead of learning by watching and imitating, he studies by using the Internet.

Read the complete review.

Check out Kurt Loder's review for Reason here

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  1. You know I’ve always had kind of a reflexive distaste for Gyllenhaal for some reason, but the more I think about it I come to think it was probably just because of all the twits I knew in high school who thought Donnie Darko was this amazing, brilliant film. He’s actually a fine actor, though in my opinion the only character type he really excels at portraying is the creepy loner.

    1. I liked Donni Darko alright, but I had to read about all the stuff that they didn’t put into the movie before it made much sense, which takes away a bit from any amazing brilliance. I’d say it was a clever time travel plot with some teen angst thrown in for good measure, and that’s about it.

    2. That’s not uncommon with a lot of actors. Sometimes, if you don’t like a movie’s fans, you end up not liking the actor in it.

      Sort of like all those douchebags who think the Director’s cut of Bladerunner is the superior movie.

      1. I liked the original. So sue me.

      2. Sort of like all those douchebags who think the Director’s cut of Bladerunner is the superior movie.

        *Shrugs*

        I don’t think I’m a douchebag about it, but I’ve always thought those voiceovers were unnecessary and rob the film of much of its mood.

        1. Despite my language personally attacking people who thought the DC was the better version, I’m not actually attacking people for liking it. I was trying to bait the forum.

          I just remember when the DC came out, everyone was all “oooooh, it’s sooo better because voiceover is unneccessary!”

          Then I watched it. I wanted to like it, because I wanted to wear my beret and smoke clove cigarettes too.

          But I came to realize, that if you DIDN’T know what was going on in the movie, you’d have been spending a huge amount of time in the first part film watching Harrison ford sit around in silence. I felt that it only made sense at all because I had already seen the theatrical release.

          I actually thought the deadpan narration gave the film the detective noir feeling that it was supposed to have– despite the urban legend that Harrison did it in deadpan voice because he was pissed about having to do it.

          1. I liked it precisely because it did invoke a film noir flavor. As it was intended by a director who was much better then than he is now.

            1. I don’t care if the director didn’t want a noir feeling. I wanted it. And I’m going to get it, damnit.

              1. No, I mean Scott was aiming for that in the original version–it’s obvious in more than just the V/O. He just got ragged later on because Ford’s delivery wasn’t great and decided to recant.

  2. I hope the complete review mentions Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

    1. Darrin McGavin. That show was teh awsum.

      1. It sure was. And I always liked him.

    2. Ah, the Night Stalker.

      Cool show. Very well acted and written. Even though the themes were silly, the fact the episodes were so well crafted is what made them so enjoyable.

      Nobody makes shows as well-made as those anymore.

      1. Yeah, we all loved it back then. If I remember correctly, it ran really late.

  3. OT – Did Reason once again stick an auto-loading video on reason.com/blog ? Because my RAM and network usage went berserk. (Windows 7, Firefox)

    1. Something’s up–my browser has been messed up all day. Same set up.

    2. YEs, shockwave crashes 100% of the time on Reason right now.

      1. It actually froze my entire computer. And since I’ve had Win 7, this thing almost never does that (not nearly as often as Vista did, anyway).

        1. I know, it’s bleeding into other applications. Don’t recall this happening in forever.

    3. Mine seems OK. Do you have Ghostery?

      1. I don’t know what that is, so I hope I don’t have it. Just Firefox with AdBlock Plus.

      2. No, we had a priest come and clear the place out last week.

    4. Use Flashblock. I hate auto play videos and FB works well.

    5. I think I found the offending video, though it’s been pushed off the front page now.

      Click here if you want to spike your computer’s RAM and / or Bytes Per Interval.

  4. Mr. Gyllenhaal’s Bloom is the heart and soul of “Nightcrawler,” which is to say that it hasn’t got one. Instead, it is fascinatingly empty ? a dark, shocking, bitingly funny profile of a person who is not really a person.

    Maybe the movie is as fabulous as many reviewers have said, but I have this nagging feeling that Gyllenhasl’s portrayal is just an artifice meant to tell a moralistic story against self-interest.

    Because I’ve watched many stories done in the past about free-lance video journalists who search the night for the juiciest of stories, and almost always they look like a happy bunch who happen to love their job while at the same time taking their role very seriously.

    1. ” just an artifice meant to tell a moralistic story against self-interest.”

      The same thing occurred to me. It sounds like an unfunny American Psycho. In my book, if you’re going to exaggerate a character in light of a specific career they have it better be satire. But if you’re making a moral point and you have to turn your character into a soulless vampire to do so, that’s just dishonest and lame.

  5. Isn’t this a retread of a TV show that lasted maybe two seasons?

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