Search icon


04th Apr 2018

Netflix have added ‘the best Martin Scorsese movie not directed by Scorsese’ and it’s superb

Check it out

Paul Moore

Featuring an absolutely stunning performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. Check it out.

In Sidney Lumet’s iconic satire Network, Howard Beale’s (Peter Finch) mental breakdown on live TV was aired for everyone to see.

After losing his mind and screaming at the world that “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!,” his rants and ramblings ultimately secured him the most highly rated program on US television. Who needs morals, ethics or human decency when you can make money? Death or ratings, there’s no middle ground.

Fast forward 38 years and Dan Gilroy has prophetically documented the ghoulish nature of modern-day TV by asking one simple question. How comfortable are some people with eroding any elements of individual privacy or morality in an effort to secure ratings, money and power?

Sound familiar?

Simply put, Nightcrawler is a modern classic because it accurately portrays the horrific world of TV where “if it bleeds, it leads.”

The film is set in the soulless, vindictive and sleazy underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man that’s desperate for work and is willing to put his morals and principles to one side if it means a steady paycheque.

After stumbling across a horrific traffic accident, Lou is introduced to the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism where footage of car crashes, blazing fires, brutal murders and mayhem can pay the bills.

Lou muscles into the cut-throat world of nightcrawling – where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou starts to thrive.

In this breakneck and ceaseless search for footage, Lou becomes the star of his own story but how far is he willing to go in a bid to get the scoop?

Ever since grabbing the world’s attention in Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal has established himself as an actor of considerable substance that’s not afraid to take risks and make bold decisions – check out his work in Brokeback Mountain, Prisoners, Zodiac and End of Watch for proof of this- but his character in Nightcrawler, the creepy, gaunt and ghoulish Lou, is easily his best ever performance.

In fact, plenty of people compared Gyllenhaal’s performance with some of the iconic characters that graced the brilliant films of Martin Scorsese. Empire said that Lou was like a mix of Taxi Driver’s unhinged Travis Bickle with The King Of Comedy’s celebrity-obsessed Rupert Pupkin.

The Atlantic also touched on this comparison in their review by saying: “Now 33 years old, Gyllenhaal is the same age that De Niro was in Taxi Driver and, like him, he is learning to channel an eerie, inner charisma, offering it up in glimpses and glimmers rather than all at once.” TIME Magazine echoed these sentiments when they said: ” Lou is a spiritual descendant of Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.”

Trust us, Gyllenhaal is so creepy in this film that you’ll need a shower just to wash him off your skin.

With a rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and 76% on the more reliable Metacritic, Nightcrawler is bound to be a modern classic for two reasons. 1) Gyllenhaal’s mesmeric performance, 2) Its haunting depiction of the media and those vultures, parasites and bottom feeders that feed the voyeuristic news cycle.

Sadly, Nightcrawler is eerily pertinent to the world that we’re living in but luckily for film fans, it’s also a bloody great film to watch. These critics agree;

LA Times – “A smart, engaged film powered by an altogether remarkable performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, it is melodrama grounded in a disturbing reality, an extreme scenario that is troubling because it cuts close to the bone.”

Rolling Stone – “Nightcrawler curves and hisses its way into your head with demonic skill. This is a deliciously twisted piece of work. And Gyllenhaal, coiled and ready to spring, is scarily brilliant.”

Washington Post – “True to its title, creeps under the viewer’s skin much like the predatory title character, who restlessly cruises through this modern-day media allegory like Travis Bickle’s long-lost, hyper-wired West Coast cousin.” – “This is a classic film, not just because every scene and line is casually beautiful and devoid of extraneous touches, but because its tone is mercilessly exact.”

You can watch Nightcrawler now on Netflix.