Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thank you for bringing it to me.

There's this guy that's been hanging around L.A. for awhile - doing his thing, for sure, but not really getting recognized for it. He's a hard worker, and certainly committed to his work, but between you and me, I'm not sure you can really trust him. As much as admire him - he scares me. I mean, he's willing to do just about anything to make a living.

F--king anything, really. 
Usually with a camera rolling nearby.

As much as I'm talking about Louis Bloom, the protagonist in Nightcrawler, I might as well be talking about the masterful actor bringing him to life, Jake Gyllenhaal. Because as intense and entertainingly brilliant as this film is, every single ounce of that comes from Gyllenhaal's mere presence. I'm telling you, this performance is magic. F--king black magic at that, as this one will haunt you.

Nightcrawler is set in Los Angeles, but coming from a guy who has never lived there, it might as well be Los Angeles. Set primarily at night, Dan Gilroy's film tells the sordid tale of a mysterious loner simply trying to make it. He's come to the city with dreams, possibly even big ones, but when we meet Louis, he's selling chain link fence and stolen manhole covers. Katy Perry and her whipped-cream titties this a'int.

Louis is really weird, though strange (as f--kmay be the better word. But somehow, he's oddly honorable, too. He needs a job and presents himself as someone who can work hard and learn quickly. And even though he's impossibly awkward and all kinds of creepy...we believe him. Hell...we might even like him.

After a chance encounter at the scene of a fiery car crash with cameraman/entrepreneur Joe Loder (a typically sleazy Bill Paxton), Louis finds his true calling. Within hours, a promising career path unfolds in front of him, and Louis rushes headlong down it. Almost immediately, he begins nightcrawling, that is, scouring L.A. for the nastiest human tragedies possible, filming them, and then selling the grisly footage to local news stations. If it bleeds, it leads is the motto, and in the City of Angels, the streets run red with car accidents, shootings, and one Hell of a home invasion.

Despite the onslaught of low-level atrocitites, everything is relatively manageable until Louis crosses one major line. He starts small where you might whisper to the person next to you this isn't good, but it won't be long till you might be saying aloud to the entire theater what the f--k is he doing?! Oh, right. You'd never do that. If only I could say the same for the lady behind me...

Speaking of things I'm sure everyone in the world hates, here are the Yays and Boos. I lost the rough draft of this for the better part of a week, so these two might be worthless this time. Well, okay. Extra worthless.

Yaaaaaaaaaay!

  • I know I've already touched on it, but Louis Bloom is a f--king character. Truly. This guy is so full of shit, so completely f--king insane, it's amazing.
  • We might have a Guinness World Record for unbearably awkward scenes in a film. Which one, you ask? Um, the one with Rene Russo in it.
  • Speaking of, totally glad to see her again. It's been some time, no?
  • I love how Louis, unlike probably every person in L.A., doesn't want air-time. Nope. He wants to own the station.
  • Paxton is great here. Bonus points for dropping a 'bra' at one point. Way cooler than bro.
  • That was pretty much the sweetest car upgrade I've ever seen. Well, that didn't have Xzibit leaning over it.
  • Oh, and while we're talking about cars, I'm pretty sure that chase scene at the end took at least three to five years off my life expectancy. 
  • Where did you get the balls to even suggest something like this?
  • Dude, Louis' intern, Rick (Riz Ahmed) was a surprising voice of reason. Ahmed delivered an excellent performance, too, nailing the I'm scared as f--k but I'm going to act like I'm not routine in every single frame. Well done, man.
  • That thing that he does at the end. The restaurant. Rick. All of it. Whoa.
  • And finally, Gyllenhaal. Again. If he ever turns out a character that's as nuts as Louis Bloom, I don't want to know about it. Seriously. It will kill me.
Boooooooo!
  • Stealing bikes isn't cool, man. The eight year-old version of m.brown can only hope that someone bought a camera when they pawned his Schwinn. That bastard.
  • Worst job interview ever.
  • Followed by worst pay ever.
  • This is ultimately a Yay, but c'mon...how completely terrifying is Gyllenhaal's face? Specifically...his mouth. Yeesh. It's so awful. 
  • Going into their house? What the f--k is that? If only he stopped there...
  • At least bad people don't prevail. Ooh, about that....
  • Photojournalism, like any other profession maybe, is cutthroat. But, damn. Just...damn.
  • And finally, just level with me, okay? This shit isn't true, right? As a society....we're better than this, right? Right?

Look, I can't recommend this movie enough. As uncomfortable as it made me, it was a Hell of a ride. I think I went minutes without breathing, as sometimes the tension was altogether suffocating. While the script and direction are tight, I left the theater thinking that Jake Gyllenhaal has been (somewhat) quietly crafting a resume that is second to none. I know we've got Leo, McConaughey and some other guys who are the best out there, but for my money Gyllenhaal is approaching the top of the mountain. I didn't think things could get more weirdly intense than Enemy [review], but even without giant spiders, Nightcrawler creeped me out. It's alluring, and kind of magical...but also terrifying and depressing.

Kind of like L.A., honestly.

At least at night.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds like a movie to check out for sure, thanks for the recommendation m.brown.

    By the way, I hate those people who happen to sit right behind me at the theater, and right before a climatic scene they lean forward and ask "whats (s)he doing?" I think we've all been through a similar experience at one point or another, I tend to turn around and say "Shh, just watch the damn movie!" It's the main reason why I prefer watching movies by myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 900% recommended, Mike. Easily. Let me know when you check it out.

      As for awful people in the theater, I've certainly had my fair share. The person I was talking about...well, they were either 13 or sounded like they were. It was brutal. They were completely overpowered by this flick. Honestly. At one point, she said (rather loudly), MY HEART IS BEATING SO FAST RIGHT NOW. It was ridiculous....um, even if I totally agreed with her.

      Delete
  2. Excellent review! I like how you pointed out at the beginning that we might end up liking Louis. That's kind of how I felt at first, then I nope'd the hell out of there towards the end. That guy was fucked up. I loved watching all his fucked upness though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even though he scared me...I really did like him. Maybe even at the end, too. I know he did some truly awful shit...but he was so remarkably consistent, I kind of admired him. Well, as much as you can admire a f--king lunatic.

      I'm going to read your post right now!

      Delete
  3. Fabulous review!
    I saw the movie today and it was so thrilling which was nice after seeing a bunch of mediocre Oscar season movies. Gyllenhaal was fantastic, this gotta be his best role.

    As society I think we are even worse than what was shown in that movie, though :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      It was ridiculously thrilling, wasn't it? I think the last half hour or so was as intense as anything I've ever seen. Even just a scene with Lou talking is nerve-wracking because he's so damn creepy. Gyllenhaal really delivered.

      We might be. At least those guys are up front about it, I guess.

      Delete
  4. Great review my man, so happy you liked this one.

    "And finally, just level with me, okay? This shit isn't true, right? As a society....we're better than this, right? Right?"

    Part of the fun of this movie for me was that it proved that, occasionally, society does indeed spit out someone like Lou Bloom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, AW. I absolutely loved it. Gyllenhaal was absolutely fearless, and damn near flawless.

      Oh yeah, man. I teach middle school. I see a handful of Lou's everyday. Terrifying.

      Delete
  5. Great review! I honestly had no idea what this movie was about walking in, but what a surprise! I think this is Gyllenhaal's year, and I hope the Academy recognizes him :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I would die if he won an Oscar for this. F--king die. I haven't seen anything...but if there's a better performance than this one...I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle it.

      No. Wait. Totally sure.

      Delete