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Nightcrawler (2014)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Nightcrawler (2014) Here's an interesting movie that gives you plenty of food for thought about the current wave of media news reporting and inlfaming issues through unethical and scandalous journalism as opposed to just plain old reporting the news. NIGHTCRAWLER is a wicked cross between NETWORK and PEEPING TOM, if such a merging were possible. Lou Bloom (played by a very freaky looking Jake Gyllenhall) is a down on his luck dude trying to find his lot in life---even well into his thirties. (I know the feeling and I'm older than him!) He finds himself stealing scrap metal and selling it to lowlife operations at the beginning of the movie. On the way home one night, he stumbles onto a car accident on the freeway and notices some people videoing the proceedings (including a badly aging Bill Paxton in a brief role as a bad news chaser instead of a tornado chaser!) as police rescue a victim out of the burning car. Thus begins Lou's obession with becoming a freelance "video journalist" on the mean streets of L.A. Also known as "nightcrawlers", they are slimy folks who gather video footage from accidents, crime scenes, murders, etc. and sell what they get to struggling local TV stations. Lou goes to a local station to sell his footage, where rough looking MILF Rene Russo plays the news manager who encourages Lou to get as much gory and (possibly illegal) footage as possible to boost their flailing ratings. Lou is a quick study who never sleeps, is always on the Internet, and has no conscience at all. He impassionately gets more and more footage using a police scanner to find the action, exploiting murder scenes and accidents, even moving bodies around before the police get to the scenes of crimes to make everything "better framed." Lou is a true anti hero, much like Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER, and this amoral individual sees how he can make loads of cash off of this hobby that he's good at, so he blackmails Russo into sleeping with him (!) for exclusives, takes out his competition, and gets involved with a situation that blows up into a horrifying tragedy of epic proportions. Lou gets a partner and even betrays him in the worst of ways, proving that he's definitely a sociopath, maybe even a psychopath! NIGHTCRAWLER is difficult to watch, honestly, because so many people in "journalism" today are too much like Lou---they want a story and even if they have to stir the pot with their work and get people killed, they will! It's all about ratings on TV and ad clicks on the Internet. This flick really draws you in, though, and is very original and engrossing, despite the truer than life subject matter. Lou knows right from wrong and knows how to get out of every situation he causes, and it's amazing and nauseating to watch him exploit so many victims at the worst time of their lives for a buck---never once trying to help anyone, just dispassionately filming whatever is around him. Much like the media and Paparazzi is today, mind you---this flick is heavy on the social commentary of these kind of leeches. NIGHTCRAWLER is shot brilliantly, almost like a Michael Mann film, and wisely eschews any "POV camcorder" footage, showing some of the action through the LCD camcorder screen that Lou is using more than anything else, and it works brilliantly. This flick is more thriller than horror, but there are moments that are horrific and numbing to watch---what this guy will do for "reality footage" is outrageous and keeps you watching. There are also incredible moments of action and stunts that are breathtaking the way they are shot. For something new and a bit different, try NIGHTCRAWLER---you might not be disappointed!

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