From one of the earliest scenes in the film we observe how Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) attains a analogue business watch and we understand straight away that Bloom is a driven individual yet he needs something to focus that drive and ambition to help him climb to success. While driving on the highway he notices a car crash where Police are dealing with the scene and a cameraman( Bill Paxton) is filming it. Bloom finds motivation to become a freelance news cameraman too, finds a camera and that is where Nightcrawler begins.
Nightcrawler is a fascinating watch because as a viewer we watch Bloom want to be the best in everything. The film is a thriller yet it can be seen as an entrepreneurs textbook as we see him bargain with News Producer (Rene Russo) on footage prices, and everything in between. We observe him interviewing future colleagues and holding “business meetings and contract reviews” while in the vehicle ready to film.
On another level Nightcrawler examines the construction of the media and what we take for granted when watching the news bulletin and breaking news. So many people treat the news with the mindset of “If I’ve seen it on the TV set with my own eyes, then it must be true.” The bulletin is not fake news but one can argue that it’s a soap opera with a format of leading stories, using real people to execute current themes that we always want to return to and makes up keep coming back.
Gyllenhaal’s performance of Lou Bloom has been compared to Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle and you can see the connection after watching the film. Lou Bloom is an amoral character but he is no Travis Bickle. Gyllenhaal’s gaunt face and dry charisma keeps you glued to watching what he will do next and how he will execute it.
Bloom’s belief in his own words makes you wonder if he is taking himself too seriously and he is candid about his ambition. He will stop at nothing to get there.
Nightcrawler is a classic film and one that will be remembered for its 21st century look on voyeurism in journalism.
“If it bleeds, it leads”
Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom
Rene Russo as Nina Romina
Bill Paxton as Joe Loder
Riz Ahmed as Rick