Unsettling, disturbing, hypnotic. Louis Bloom played by Jake Gyllenhaal could be considered both the antagonist and protagonist in this story, blurring the lines between observing the events, and actively influencing the outcome.
This neo-noir psychological thriller takes on the darker side of what some journalists may do to get the story of their lifetime.
You delve into the world of a thief and conman who will do anything to get ahead. He randomly stumbles upon a crime scene, meeting a freelance photographer played by Bill Paxton.
He feels he has found his calling. Committed to do whatever it takes, he slowly learns the trade, immersing himself deeper and deeper in the sordid world of capturing death on camera.
Slowly beginning to make money by selling what he has recorded to a news station manager played by Rene Russo.
Conning a naïve homeless man played by Riz Ahmed to become his apprentice.
Jake Gyllenhaal was cast perfectly for this character. Putting in up to eight-hour workouts a day, and ran or cycled to the set to achieve the gaunt appearance of this obsessive compulsive man that will do anything to get his next best shot. Adding even more to his slightly unhinged persona.
Every emotion, every word seems practiced, forced, and lacking any genuine feeling, adding to the sociopathic atmosphere and ‘feel’ of this character.
The more Lou does, the further he goes in crossing those lines. He’s unpredictable, seeming to be unafraid of danger, of putting himself and others at risk to get that perfect shot.
The lines get blurry as he faces competition. Exactly how far would he go to achieve his ambitions?
Is Lou a psychopath? This movie does a great job on unsettling the viewer without really revealing why he is the way he is. There isn’t much of a back-story to explain his criminal tendencies. Yet, the more you get to know the character, the more you realize the fake veneer he is putting on. Developing the character into someone to fear. Rejection doesn’t seem to faze him. Yet, one scene in the movie shatters that fake veneer, and that’s when you really know who Lou truly is. Perhaps one of the
only times you see Lou for what he truly is. You see the true emotion that is constantly suppressed throughout the rest of the movie. To the point, perhaps even Lou believes the lies he is selling.
The almost jovial demeanor, smiling even under harsh rejection actually reminds me of a Joker-type character. Except without the back-story. One moment he’s laughing to endear you, the next his deadpan expression when he is looking down at a person could leave you with shivers down the spine.
A great supporting cast that doesn’t take away from him; instead these characters get sucked into his deluded world.
No spoilers. The ending answers most questions, yet still leaves you wondering – WTF?
Not the kind of ending you expect. The psychological aspect of trying to figure this character out and what he will do next sucks you into his world from the beginning, adding to the overall suspense.
Night Crawler is very much an apt name for Lou that crawls through the night looking for his next best shot. The people involved merely props adding to his big scoop.
This movie doesn’t rely on sex, violence or even too much action to propel the plot forward. Instead, it uses the morbid world of this man to draw you into the seedy world of a night journalist hunting for crime.
This quote perfectly sums up Lou’s character, and perhaps the inner workings of a sociopath.
“What if my problem wasn’t that I don’t understand people, but that I don’t like them? What if I was the kind of person who was obliged to hurt you for this? I mean physically. I think you’d have to believe afterward, if you could, that agreeing to participate and then backing out at the critical moment was a mistake. Because that’s what I’m telling you, as clearly as I can.” Lou Bloom.