Nightcrawler DVD Review

DVD Review by Clayton Barnett

The Premise
NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fire, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cutthroat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling, where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.
The Review
Jake Gyllenhaal gets his creep on in this dark and captivating thriller that will get under your skin. Or potentially make you want to start a career in freelance news filmmaking.
A sleek modern-day noir Nightcrawler is the amazingly assured directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy. For a first-time writer/director he’s made a taut and intense film Scorsese would be proud of. Following in the footsteps of his older brother Tony, who went from writing the Bourne trilogy to writing and directing Michael Clayton, it seems the younger sibling not only has the writing nous but style to burn as well.
Enlisting Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood) to lens your film doesn’t hurt either. Elswit nails the noir-ish flavour of L.A.’s night time, giving it a shiny yet greasy look that matches our lead character’s moral compass.
But it’s the tour-de-force, and Oscar-worthy, performance from Gyllenhaal that makes Nightcrawler. From Donnie Darko to Jarhead to Prisoners, Gyllenhaal seems drawn to playing characters living on the edge, and he captivates from start to finish as the loathsome lone wolf Lou Bloom. A true sociopath, you can’t help but be drawn by his driven nature to succeed – no matter what the cost.
Dan also get’s his wife into the act, with Rene Russo on board and in great form as the ruthless TV producer. Bill Paxton is a welcome addition as a rival freelance cameraman but it’s Riz Ahmed, who plays Bloom’s intern Rick, who really shines. Ahmed, a Brit who was in the hilarious terrorist comedy Four Lions, plays conscience to Gyllenhaal’s morality-free filmmaker and with this performance will hopefully land more substantial roles stateside.
The Verdict
A taut, sleek and captivating directorial debut from screenwriter Dan Gilroy, alongside a career-best performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, you won’t get a better-looking study of a sociopath than Nightcrawler.
The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 8th April 2015
Rating: R16 – Contains Violence, offensive language & content that may disturb
Duration: 117 minutes
Genre:  Crime
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo & Bill Paxton
Director: Dan Gilroy (Debut Feature Film)
The Extras
During the scene where Jake Gyllenhaal talks to himself in the mirror, Gyllenhaal got so into the scene that he punched the mirror. The mirror broke and ended up cutting Gyllenhaal's hand. He had to go to a hospital and get stitches. He returned to the set right after he got discharged from the hospital.
Jake Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds for his role. This was Gyllenhaal's own idea, as he visualized Lou as a hungry coyote.
To create Lou's gaunt appearance, Jake Gyllenhaal worked out for up to 8 hours a day and ran or biked to the set everyday.
This is the Directorial debut of Dan Gilroy.
Actor Riz Ahmed rode along with "actual" nightcrawlers in LA to prepare for his role.