A while ago, I had the chance to watch a 1933 movie called “Picture Snatcher”, in which the great James Cagney plays an ex-con who gets a newspaper job by snapping a forbidden photograph showing the execution of a convicted murderess. 80 years later and the subject of corrupt journalism couldn’t be more relevant. Want proof? “Nightcrawler”, the terrific new movie by first time director Dan Gilroy, that feels a lot like an uncensored reality show. The star? Jake Gyllenhaal, who gives the performance of his career as Lou Bloom, a freelance TV news cameraman who would do anything, and I do mean anything, to produce video footage he can sell to a TV news director (Rene Russo), just to satisfy the public’s appetite for violence and tragedy. We see some of the action through the lenses of his hand-held camera as he roams the streets of L.A looking for a scoop. Gilroy keeps things unnervingly in your face. It’s a tough subject to handle, which drives some audiences nuts. If that sounds like you, you can always buy a ticket to “Left Behind” instead. But just in case you decide to stick around, “Nightcrawler” will work its way into your head with terrific skill. You may feel offended at some point, but that’s what makes it so powerful and above all, real. And it’s Bloom, played with a cold-eyed resonance by the superb Jake Gyllenhaal, that anchors the story. In other hands, the film might have fallen to pieces. In his, it became a potent cautionary tale and one the year’s best movies. No true movie lover would dare miss it.
Categories: 3.5/4, drama, The Twenty-First Century
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