Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Thief in the Night

In the first five minutes of Nightcrawler, we meet Louis Bloom who is in the middle of stealing a wire fence to sell it for scrap.  While he's at it, he also attacks and steals a watch from a security guard who catches him in the act.  So right off the bat, we know that Louis, as embodied by a eerily emaciated Jake Gyllenhaal, is not the most scrupulous person on earth.  Yet Louis is not content with being a petty thief as he repeatedly asks any and everyone he encounters for a job.  But no luck--he is a bit creepy and a thief, after all.  But then he stumbles upon a profession he actually has a knack for--riding around L.A. at night and trolling the police scanners to get video footage of crime scenes and accidents to sell to a television news producer played by Renee Russo. As Louis gets more successful at "nightcrawling" and his business becomes more lucrative, the lines between documenting the news and creating the news begin to dissipate.  Indeed, Louis is not above blackmail, sabotage, obstruction, and murder to get the best footage first.  As Louis states, if you see him hovering about, you're probably having the worst night of your life.  I thoroughly "enjoyed" Nightcrawler as a dark character study of a talented "twerp" with no moral compass and a perverse view of the world.  [Just imagine if Bill Gates had used his genius for evil; you'd get someone like Louis Bloom.]  Nightcrawler is also somewhat of a critical social commentary about the television news media.  Nina, the t.v. news producer played by Russo, is convinced her viewers only want to see violent suburban crimes with rich white victims and horrific accidents.  Is that all we want to see or is that all we're shown?

Nightcrawler is currently playing in Atlanta at Phipps Plaza.


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