NIGHTCRAWLER

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4.5 stars
This breathtaking satire not only presents one of Jake Gyllenhaal's best performances, but introduces director Dan Gilroy as a new force on the block. His screenplay for The Bourne Identity breathed fresh life into the franchise, but this, as his central character Lou Bloom might say, takes it to the next level.
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The joy of Nightcrawler is its grimy heart and there's a gloriously greasy patina to Gilroy's Los Angeles that sets up a world of pain long before it begins to unfold.

Bloom is a fast-learning sociopath who discovers there's money to be made from nightcrawling – being first on the scene with a camera when tragedy strikes. He hooks up with a ratings focussed news producer who loves his ratings-baiting work (a ball-busting Rene Russo - ). More so when he begins to rearrange reality for a better shot, truth being an early casualty of his filming. His put upon staff (of one, a pitch perfect Riz Ahmed - The Reluctant Fundamentalist) is forced to consider performance appraisals as Bloom becomes a walking self-improvement manual to hilarious, alarming and at times, disgusting effect. Best of all is Bloom's total disconnect from reality as he embraces the power and recognition his work brings. See above re sociopath. And satire.

At its core is a mesmerising performance by Gyllenhaal (Zodiac). How such a good looking man can look this bad is only the start of many marvels as he disappears under his troubling character. A pivotal moment with fellow nightcrawler Bill Paxton (Edge Of Tomorrow) strapped to a gurney effortlessly defines Bloom, while negotiations with Russo play like sex: as deliciously startling as it is startlingly delicious.

Accordingly, Nightcrawler flourishes as a searing indictment on unchecked mania, workplace malpractice and the forces that maintain them. Notably it is a blistering attack on the dictum of 'bleeds leads' and broadcast news' manipulative chase down the rabbit hole. This is as provocative and frightening as it is funny, and you will never watch Sunrise the same way again. In fact, you may simply turn it off for good.

// COLIN FRASER

Previewed at The Reel Room, Sydney on September 10, 2014

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STARRING
Jake Gyllenhaal
Rene Russo
Riz Ahmed
Bill Paxton

DIRECTOR
Dan Gilroy


SCREENWRITER
Dan Gilroy

COUNTRY
USA

CLASSIFICATION
MA15+

RUNTIME
117 minutes

AUSTRALIAN
RELEASE DATE
November 27, 2014
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Nightcrawler (2014) on IMDb
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