No, Marvel haven’t given a film to the X-Men’s resident blue guy, this Nightcrawler tells the tale of a morally-ambiguous Lou Bloom, a man unafraid of getting his hands dirtied. A scene set for the dramatic rise of Gyllenhaal’s down-on-his-luck grafter, Dan Gilroy’s picture oozes class, style and character.
Gyllenhaal’s presentation of Louis Bloom is nothing short of sensational. Bloom is a classic anti-hero, holding the characteristic dualism of being both inspiring, as well as entirely disgusting. Clear lines have been drawn between Bloom and the past anti-heroes of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman and Fight Club’s Tyler Durden. There are even distinct and comparable overlaps with The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort.
As in The Wolf of Wall Street, Nightcrawler’s hero doesn’t function on the same level as Average Joe. Both characters’ minds work faster than the norm, seeing situations as opportunities others wouldn’t dare to take. Both characters possess an infectious, yet sinister charisma, and combine it with hard work to meet their goals.
However, it is Nightcrawler’s anti-hero that stands highest, due to the spellbinding performance of Jake Gyllenhaal. Whereas The Wolf of Wall Street features a typically ‘Leo’ performance, a side emerges from Gyllenhaal that seems to have been previously dormant. Bloom is obviously menacing, manipulative and full of malice but his unique nature, a nature that Gyllenhaal brings to the role, makes Nightcrawler flourish. The paradox between Bloom’s bright-eyed, childish optimism and his horrifyingly dark absence of morality, creates a cunningly, calculated protagonist written and acted so well that he could carry the picture.
The film is also one of visual-excellence. Nightcrawler is dark, and by that I mean set almost exclusively at night, but everything is shot with the perfect level of clarity. From a film centred around Bloom’s personal camera-work, the lighting, positioning and framing that Bloom finds so important, are just as key in Gilroy’s slick direction.
These two excellent elements over-shadow a story that is slightly lacking. Gyllenhaal’s performance acts as a distraction from a story that, despite having several shocks, doesn’t hit too hard. The story is solid and will keep you hooked throughout, but don’t be expecting shocks on the level of Fight Club, or the edge-of-your-wits, raw fingernails thriller of Gone Girl.
Wearing somebody else’s watch, and doing somebody else’s job, Louis Bloom brings Nightcrawler together through a scintillating Gyllenhaal and a stylish Gilroy.