Nightcrawler is one of those films that gets under your skin; indeed it crawls into you and makes you feel slightly dirty for enjoying it so much. It is a film that I thought was very much inspired by Drive, and indeed Jake Gyllenhaal is as unpredictable at the titular character from Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film.
Jake himself is superb; a wiry, gaunt, intense anti-hero; he is singular in his purpose & determination, and though the first few scenes demonstrate what he is capable of we are forever worried about just how far he is prepared to go. As Lou Bloom, Jake is quite unpredictable; the scenes with Rene Russo often bristle with tension and anticipation and we're never sure where the conversation will go. He also gives a superb soliloquy as he is giving his demands to Rene Russo’s news editor, and certainly deserves his BAFTA nomination for Best Leading Actor.
As all the filming of the incidents takes place at night, there are many dusk/dawn shots which take full advantage of that magic hour when the light is so sumptuous; almost makes LA look pretty at times. Perhaps this is to be expected of the DOP who brought us There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Town (2010).
Perhaps it was my imagination but as Lou became more accomplished with the camera, knowing how to frame shots to draw the viewer’s eye into the picture, I felt that the movie itself became more stylish. In particular there was a great shot as Lou is driving (his very conspicuous red car) and the camera stays down low and sweeps around from front to back.
Director Dan Gilroy has made a very smart, stylish yet somehow seedy film. A beautifully shot movie with great performances from the actors, this is a damn fine film for a first time director, perhaps one to watch. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.