Jake’s Takes on “Nightcrawler”

The new thriller “Nightcrawler” stands out above other thriller movies for several reasons: it has a very original premise, brilliant dialogue and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a prodigious portrayal of a complex and intriguing protagonist.

The story follows a driven young man named Lou Bloom, played by Gyllenhaal. Desperate for work, Bloom discovers the unorthodox job of “nightcrawling”. He drives around Los Angeles during the night looking for crimes and accidents to film and sell to the highest bidding news station. The more gruesome the footage, the more he can charge the stations.

A transformative role for Gyllenhaal, it was the most difficult character he has ever portrayed, according to several interviews. The 33 year old actor lost thirty pounds for the role by eating lightly and embarking on gruelling, daily 15 mile runs. He also barely slept during filming. The result? A lean, wide-eyed, hungry looking young man.

Gyllenhaal’s hard work paid off; he perfectly embodies the driven, unsettling Lou through meticulous mannerisms and mastery of his facial expressions. More specifically, throughout the film he somehow wills himself to not blink. This makes his character creepy, but is also symbolic of his character’s desire to learn, never wanting to miss anything.

Lou is one of the most interesting characters to appear on the big screen in quite some time. Though he employs questionable methods and commits some unethical (and illegal) acts, audiences will still find themselves rooting for him nonetheless, due to his relentless drive and desire to better himself. In an interview with The Guardian, Gyllenhaal elaborated on the intriguing protagonist. “It’s important that you feel like Lou is the superhero of a generation. People have asked me throughout many interviews over time: ‘Do you ever wish you’d played a superhero?’ I just did – his name is Lou Bloom,” Gyllenhaal said. “I don’t like to call him a sociopath. The reason he doesn’t become unwatchable is because there’s this great innocence to him. He’s almost from another time.”

Lou embodies a generation of people desperate for work, gaining him further empathy with audiences. Above all else, excluding the various horror and thriller aspects of the film, it is a success story.

The writing in this film is phenomenal: sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, but always entertaining. The pace of the plot is also noteworthy and Dan Gilroy’s directing is exceptional.

I highly recommend this impressively original, suspenseful thriller. Even if, for whatever reason, you don’t enjoy the original plot, or smart writing, you should still be able to appreciate Gyllenhaal’s premier performance in “Nightcrawler.