Nightcrawler  (2014)

PopGap #01: Nightcrawler (2014)

 
By dorrk, January 30th 2015
Movies of the 2010s: #20 of 20

The final movie of this inaugural PopGap month is one I would have watched this week anyway, as I've been greedily anticipating its release on VOD this week. I do feel like a bit of a cheat with the theme for this month's PopGap: the Top Movies I've Missed from This Decade So Far. While the point of PopGap is to force me to watch movies I've been avoiding for one reason or another, a handful from this month are virtually brand new — Boyhood, Gone Girl, and now Nightcrawler, were released to home video just this month; and I took a rare trip to the cinema to watch Interstellar  — and would have been watchlist priorities for me if PopGap didn't exist. But I make the rules around here, and I do things the way I want. Maybe it's unethical, but it doesn't make me a bad guy. No one got hurt. I'm just doing what I'm good at. And I would never ask you to do something that I wouldn't do myself.

Nightcrawler is one of the best movies I've watched for this month's project. It's a riveting glimpse at a character who discovers and aggressively pursues a vocation in which his alienating, anti-social tendencies can thrive and grow.

Jake Gyllenhall gives his best performance yet as Louis Bloom, an odd, intense fellow whose peculiar, graceless determination makes him less-than-appealing to prospective employers. He sets out on his own as a freelance news gatherer, racing to accident and crime scenes and documenting the carnage for local television news producers. It's a nasty, cutthroat business, but Louis adapts to it quickly and learns that one of his personality traits (you might call it sociopathy) gives him a leg-up in both selling his footage and dealing with the competition.

While commentary elucidating the cynicism and callousness of local new coverage is old-hat, writer/director Dan Gilroy doesn't dwell on that aspect of his story. It serves as a vivid and unsavory milieu for a fascinating character study that is terrific from beginning to end. As his name unsubtly suggests, Louis does indeed bloom from an awkward, skeevy ne'er-do-well into a full-blown scumbag with mastery of his devious craft.

Nightcrawler is a fun, unsettling, visceral and compelling journey and one of the best movies of 2014.

Trailer for Nightcrawler (2014)



The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher