Nightcrawler Movie Review
Sociopaths. Fascinating creatures they are. People who are literally devoid of emotion, pleased by whatever pleases them with no regard for the implications or affects on those around them. Fascinating creatures. And Jake Gyllenhaal plays one with amazing precision in Nightcrawler, an immersive, engaging and unique drama-thriller that is among the year’s best movies.
What begins as a story about a quirky young man who finds his calling when he is drawn into the world of freelance journalism soon evolves into the exploration of a man with no conscience, a man who knows what he wants and goes for it, no matter the cost. I’ve read several books about sociopaths over the years—a sign of my interest in them—and when I realized what Nightcrawler was truly about, I was hooked.
The movie is a solid drama, though at first not one that jumps out at you as the “must-see movie of the year.” Gyllenhaal talks awkwardly, the movie has a few clunky moments and things aren’t exactly right in the world.
Except, for the most part, it’s by design. Things seem a little off because they are a little off, because sociopaths don’t see the world like the rest of us do. And Gyllenhaal delivers the best performance of his impressive career. It is also one of the best performances of 2014. His awkward, creepy and darkly funny portrayal of a man with no remorse is simply captivating.
The movie, too, is captivating. Refreshingly unique and wholly unpredictable (well, except for one moment at the end), you never know which direction the movie is going to go, or what the protagonist (antagonist?) is going to do.
Rene Russo is great in a supporting role, as is Riz Ahmed.
Nightcrawler isn’t for everyone, but if you take the time to read just a little about sociopaths, you will realize just how incredible Gyllenhaal’s portrayal is, and how terrific Nightcrawler is.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.