Just a quick take on this one, before the deluge of prestige biopics and foregone Oscar nominees start creeping their ways into theatres. Speaking of creeping, Jake Gyllenhaal does his fair share of it in this slick thriller, in which he plays a ghastly parody of the self-made man.
Ever the entrepreneur, Lou tries his hand at the nocturnal profession of nightcrawling, an ethically borderline job that has him tracking down violent crime stories and shooting video for the highest bidding news network. If Lou is one thing, he's driven.
But of course he isn't just one thing. Besides being driven, he's also psychotic, willing to go to absurd lengths to beat the competition (and the police) to the scene, however dangerous. Lou goes from being a messenger to being an agent of death.
It's a difficult tone for Gyllenhaal to navigate, but he manages to pull it off. I cracked a smile more than a few times while still being deeply unsettled by this character. His nightcrawler really worms (no pun intended) his way under your skin, and stays there. He even dropped 30 pounds for the role, the contours of his now skeletal frame accentuated by the evocative lighting.
While it's clearly Gyllenhaal's show, special mention should be made for his costar Rene Russo, playing the unscrupulous TV news director who initially encourages Lou's disquieting fascination with nightcrawling.
***1/2 out of ****