A review with more psychoanalytic emphasis which will delve deeper into exploring the nature of our protagonist Lou.Comments are always welcome and I would love to hear your perspective on the film 🙂
In the violent world set in Nightcrawler,worth and value are as good as your ability to survive. One may be inclined to think that other films depict the same type of cut-throat antagonistic environment where the protagonist loses his morals in the thirst for success. But look closer.Nightcrawling isn’t just about competition. This is where Lou (Jake Gyllenhall) raises the stake of the game to make it his game;A darker, more twisted version, a result of amorality turned to immorality by his bloodthirst for success. This year’s films have been named the year of ‘scary determination’ by the Guardian critics, and Nightcrawler certainly fits the bill.
Perhaps, one cannot exactly blame Lou entirely for the demon he has become,as the nature of his job makes bare the inherent vices we may all have inside of us; The capacity for violent determination. Nightcrawler,in this sense, is nuanced in the way it portrays violence as systemic and in all characters which make up society in Nightcrawler e.g. Nina’s(head of KNTV) and the extent to which she goes just to get more viewership,Rick’s(Lou’s assistant) increasingly demanding nature by threatening Lou etc. Violence may not be portrayed in the literal sense, but it is a metaphor that transcends from society to persons, with Lou the one who makes violence not just an expression for the extreme,but materializes the violence into something sinister.
Call Lou a psychopath or a sociopath, Jake Gyllenhaal has made one of the most memorable characters that we’ve seen. He is a coyote(as Gyllenhaal likens) trying to survive in the blurry lights of L.A. Nevertheless, he can be considered an anti-hero in the film because the determination that drives him is determination that drives us all. Sympathy for Lou is derived from our complicity with his moral decline, and raises serious questions about our morbid fascination with grisly crimes and the sensational reporting of it.
Lou in effect, is the everyman personified by the dangerous depths of extremity that lives in all of us. Nightcrawler has created a character who doesn’t need backstories or more background detail because he is like all of us. Thrown into a darwinian environment, Lou truly exposes what all of us can become. Jake Gyllenhaal is the star of the movie, and Dan Gilroy manages to create a character whose journey rewrites the person Lou becomes, the individual just as complicit with his environment in his moral deterioration.
Have a listen to the soundtrack,and it reaches deep within…1940’s L.A. with a single glimpse of light, the money shot amongst all the violence.The fuzzy lights,the red car of stain and sin, a man subsumed into an ambiguous place; This is neo-noir at its most powerful and reflective, catharsis lies not with the protagonist but with the audience as we reflect on how we’ve created violent environments that stimulate extremity.A powerful film indeed.