niceguys review on letterboxd: "in loving memory of jake gyllenhaal... he ain’t dead but the academy keep treating him like he is"
Nightcrawler is everything you want from an antihero movie. Watching this after I Care A Lot (2020) was very revealing and made me think about what made me love Nightcrawler while hating ICAL with a passion. The key to an antihero is consistency and reasonability. Consistency is shown in Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal) from the very first scene which shows him beating up a security guard to steal supplies (and their watch) to be able to sell and make a buck. You are already given his objective of being a hustler no matter who gets hurt in the process. And that concept never leaves the movie, his motives don't change, there's no arc. It's just him and hustle and you're taken inside this polluted mind to see how far he'll go. And reasonability means that if one has that 'polluted' mindset then does every action he take follow that path? And in this movie, yes. It is reasonable if someone has that depth in motive, then they would take all the actions Lou did. I made 100 continuous guesses in this movie for what could happen next and I was right only like 3 times (and they were obvious). I was gripped in and excited for the next scene at every point in the movie. Riz Ahmed's character Rick was such a great tool to show the true colors of Lou. The plot could have maybe worked without Rick but you would lose so much insight into Lou. It was beautifully done. Yes, Lou does many messed up things, but you know what? It makes his character. Every line and side story makes you learn more and more about Lou and even about how he sees himself. The dialogue for Lou is just so perfect for this character. He's ambitious to a fault and the Ted Talk type speech patterns and phrases makes you want to trust that he knows what he's doing. He is the ultimate high-functioning sociopath. Without Gyllenhaal's acting, this movie could have been trash. Amitoj literally said "This is what Joaquin Phoenix was trying to do in the Joker". The acting was that good. I can't praise Jake Gyllenhaal for this performance enough.
As for the message of the movie, there are a couple options. This could be taken simply as a "what is a man willing to do for money?" type movie. But I think there's so much more commentary than that. I believe this movie was also commenting on the news business and on the audience. Why do we feed on the more brutal stories in the news? Is it concern for our safety or is it just sadism? Why do we slow down to look at a car crash? But the news channels and media is a business. So if we keep watching these specific types of stories of course they will want to feed it more too. The news can instill fear to keep us watching and in turn will raise their ratings. The media has such power but does it not also have responsibility? Nightcrawler gives you insight into the decision making behind the scenes of the media that we consume. Yes it's fiction but it probably has a nugget of truth. I found myself thinking that when I watch the real news now, I'll have a lot more to think about what I'm actually watching. When a movie has the power to make you reconsider something you do daily, you know it's a worthy movie.
Super random but the movie poster of this movie is very similar to Taxi Driver and I could probably write an essay on similarities between the two antiheros there. I won't bore you but I'm starting to think I have a type (of movie).
TLDR; watch it.