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Nightcrawler starring Jack Gyllenhaal – Movie Review

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By Sergio Martinez –mtltimes.ca 

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is what we can call a typical product of the current economic paradigm which discards many people as marginal losers in a society that becomes more and more an implacable jungle with a few at the top and thousands, or rather millions at the bottom; but as the champions of market economics would persistently remark, there is always an opportunity that you just have to discover; and if what you have to offer has a potential market, then you will succeed. It is exactly that spirit which is so well captured in this movie directed and written by Dan Gilroy and whose central character epitomizes so well.

A petty thief, somehow surviving in Los Angeles, Lou by chance realizes that pictures of crime and accidents are a precious commodity in the world of television where channels compete with each other for rating and also have to face the growing presence of the social networks. A quick learner, he gets a camera and decides to go beyond what other cameramen are selling: his pictures should be worthier than one thousand words: they should in fact leave people wordless. And Lou finds someone who will need and encourage his exploits, Nina (Rene Russo), the newscast producer who wants to be on top in the TV market and for which ethical restraints should not be an obstacle. She also wants to promote the idea that not only the city is unsafe, but now that situation is spreading into the suburbs in the form of an increasingly violent crime wave. All of which of course, increases ratings for her station.

The growing demand for shocking graphic material makes Lou to hire an assistant: Rick (Riz Ahmed) who would also learn first-hand what is like to be at the bottom in a situation in which his boss is also some kind of a marginal although—paradoxically—somehow successful individual.

This is a well-made film, with a great photography, convincing acting, and which will please those who enjoy a story that is not only quite realistic, but also touches a central pillar of our own society today: the search for economic success regardless of the means to achieve it. For Lou the image is worth whatever he gets from it once he sells it, all other aspects including any ethical consideration is irrelevant. “Nightcrawler” also depicts very accurately the role of commercial media and the motivation of big media executives. Welcome to the reality of our economic system!

Warning: Some violent scenes.

Length: 117 min.

Playing at: Banque Scotia, Cineplex Kirkland, Des Sources 10, Méga-Plex Marché Central 18, Méga-Plex Sphèretech 14.

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