“Lou Bloom” is one creepy, amoral, conscienceless character and Jake Gyllenhaal is stratospheric in his depiction of this man of the night, chasing gory, sensational, bloody accidents, filming the scene, its victims and selling them to a Los Angeles TV station.
From the moment we meet “Lou”, excessively polite, verbose with Keane-like eyes and gaunt frame we know something is “off”; his past is never divulged, but similar to Dracula, darkness provokes his obsessive ambitions. He’s intelligent, a quick study, and his convincing warped sense of logic, converts, with Svengali style those he ambushes with his glib, viperous tongue.
Writer/director Dan Gilroy paints a noir portrait of Los Angeles; nocturnal bleakness, strip malls, blighted underbelly of urban crime, devoid of glamour, pulsating danger and gloom, a metaphor for many cities whose inhabitants escape to suburbia when the sun goes missing.
Addiction hits with his initial foray into the macabre and his future is solidified; hires an assistant “Rick” (Riz Ahmed, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”) and develops an unhealthy attachment to producer “Nina Romina” (Rene Russo, a welcome resurgence); their relationship is the absolute blend of attraction/repulsion and intensifies the sinister, menacing aura of the scenario.
Nightcrawlers are “worms”, bait for fishermen; “Nightcrawler” sheds light on a profession where the crawler worms his way into society’s horrors, filming the doomed, conflagrations and murder (similar to legendary photographer Weegee 1899-1968); in demand, these stories outweigh more pivotal newsworthy events; satisfying the public’s craving, zest for the grisly; recognizing this need “Lou Bloom” categorically eliminates all boundaries of decency, propriety; Jake Gyllenhaal’s mesmerizing, intense characterization will haunt viewers long into the future.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!