Another of 2014’s underrated releases was Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler”, more famous for Gyllenhaal’s weight dropping than Box Office ignition, really should have got more arse-seat business. Almost a sub-genre all of it’s own-recession porn, finds our protagonist Louis Bloom searching for a job, any job and stumbling into a blood drenched vocation.
The “Nightcrawler” of title, he prowls the night listening on police scanner for roadside accidents, muggings etc to catch on camera under the “If it bleeds, it leads.” Banner, selling his material to Rene Russo’s cable news manager but as escalation kicks in, so does competition ( Bill Paxton-always welcome) and finds himself taking more creative chances to get the goods.
Played almost to bug-eyed vampiric parody, it’s truly a transformative performance that is put in and Renee Russo’s close to “Over the hill” ball-busting manager channeling more than just an echo of Faye Dunaway in “Network” and Riz Ahmed continuing to impress. In clumsier hands, we’d have a “Network-lite” With morality play trappings but what we get is a rapier-sharp swipe at the Media and our co-dependency but an unblinking stare at what once was the “American Dream” has now become waking nightmare.
Bringing to mind “Rupert Pupkin” in “The King Of Comedy”, social commentary with this much awkward black comedy flirts with being too dark at moments but it’s a steady hand that delivers this bitter a pill and you’d not want to miss a single, uncomfortable moment.
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