Nightcrawler Review

Nightcrawler (2014) written/directed by Dan Gilroy.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rennie Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton.

Synopsis: Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaall) is desperate for work, and is caught stealing from a construction site when we see him for the first time. After Lou witnesses a freelance film crew at a crash scene, it inspires him to purchase a second hand video camera and police radio scanner.

After Lou films footage of a carjacking, he attempts to sell this to a local TV station. Morning News Director Nina (Renne Russo) buys the footage, and this starts an intriguing relationship between the two. As Lou’s business grows, he acquires the help of an assistant named Rick (Riz Ahmed) who was desperately seeking work. However, things begin to take a sinister turn when the boundaries of Lou’s new job are crossed.

Gyllenhaal is unnerving and sinister as the story’s protagonist, and this is possibly the best performance he has given to date. He is very interesting to watch despite various cringy exchanges between himself and other characters. This seems due to his lack of people skills. Lou reminded me somewhat of Robert De Niro in The King of Comedy (1983) with his delusional characteristics, but his complete determination to be successful. With Gyllenhaal’s dramatic weight loss, his usual muscular physique has been transformed to make him look extremely gaunt. This effectively adds to the sinister look he has.

The supporting cast also do a good job. This is the first movie I have seen Rennie Russo in for a long time, but she still carries the sex appeal she had throughout her younger years. Her character Nina’s desperation at trying to stay on top is conveyed with her willingness to push Gyllenhaal’s edgy reportings onto mainstream television.

This story makes a number of statements about contemporary news reporting – one being the boundaries between ethical against what makes for a breaking story. This is explored throughout the movie, with Gyllenhaal consistently shunning the morally correct thing to do in favour of what will make for a better and financially benifiting news story.

The story’s themes are extremely thought provoking. I left the movie thinking this probably happens daily in the media, with camera crews doing anything to get a decent vantage of their subjects.

Writer/Director Dan Gilroy did a fantastic job with this movie, and this has deservedly been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Gilroy has managed to directed and write a compelling story with equally compelling performances from his cast.

Overall, I was intrigued throughout this movie at the characters, the plot and themes the filmmaker was conveying. It is one of the best movie’s I have seen over the past year and is well worth a watch.

By Robert Spence


Hannibal – Season 2 Episode 9 Shiizakana – Review

This episode was directed by Michael Rymer.

Episode Synopsis: After the savage murder of a truck driver, Will Graham investigates what happened as he continues his therapy with Hannibal. The episode begins with Will having a dream about killing Hannibal. We are then introduced to Jack Crawford and Hannibal having dinner. Hannibal tells Crawford that he can no longer discuss details of Will and his therapy sessions.

Due to the animalistic nature of the truck driver murder, the team think that this could be someone using an animal to kill the victims, and the team begin to look at this further.

As the episode progresses, Will is approached by Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle), one of Hannibal’s other patients. She asks him about his therapy, as Hannibal has provided her with some controversial advice regarding killing. We also find out that the murderer this episode has some unique history with Hannibal.

This is the best episode I have seen this season, and I was entertained all the way through. Will and Hannibal’s complex relationship continues, and the conclusion of this season is in sight. Randal Tier (Mark O’Brien) is impressive as the main serial killer Will is hunting this episode, and Mads Mikkelsen/Hugh Dancy are also impressive as always.

One criticism I do have, however, is the use of Will’s unique gift to solve murders. There are times where I find this a little frustrating, as this could seem as a cop out. For instance, when Will views a murder scene, and as a result can tell exactly what happened. In this episode, Tier is using a type of suit to kill his victims in this animalistic nature. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this at the crime scene other than Will having a feeling. I felt this was a bit of a cop out.

However, having said this, the show is consistently good and I highly recommend this episode.

By Robert Spence