Movie Review: ‘Nightcrawler’ A Whirlwind of Near-Perfection


Preston Barta // Film Critic

Director: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed and Marco Rodríguez

Take the coolness and suave of DRIVE, mix it in with the sharp wit and dialogue of Aaron Sorkin’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and you get something moderately close to NIGHTCRAWLER. Filmmaking and acting do not get much better than Dan Gilroy‘s tightly-pieced and bone chilling thriller.

The storyline is rather simple– a man named Louis Bloom (a knockout Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles upon the world of freelance crime journalism. Louis cruises the streets of Los Angeles to find crime scenes that he can film and sell to news networks.

Make this your mom's desktop background.

Make this your mom’s desktop background.

NIGHTCRAWLER is a haunting movie with a stilted atmosphere. Great character studies punctuated by violent action scenes keep the audience immersed in this gripping film. Some powerful performances (especially Gyllenhaal at the front, next to Rene Russo), stylish direction and intricate plotting, complete this whirlwind of near-perfection.

NIGHTCRAWLER probably won’t deliver box office gold, though it will certainly be paying long-term dividends as a reference point for future film noir directors, writers and fans alike.

NIGHTCRAWLER opens in theaters tomorrow.

Our interview with writer-director Dan Gilroy

0:33 | How personal of a film NIGHTCRAWLER is.
2:21 | The starting point of the film
3:37 | Gyllenhaal’s complex character
5:39 | How we are gravitating towards rough around-the-edge kind of characters
7:01 | If he could teach a class on parenting

We apologize if the audio falls out of sync. The camera and audio equipment recorded at different bit-rates; we adjusted the best we could.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.