Despite the sense of fright and extreme suppression in my soul afterwards, I have to say that Nightcrawler is an amazing neo-noir, crime thriller film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and featuring Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton. It looks into how a former thief, Louis Bloom, experienced all-rounded discrimination in society when trying to find a job, worked as a stringer—a freelance cameraman—to keep his head above water, and finally lost humanity and morality in his ‘dodge’ and the morbid pursuit of so-called ‘successful and meaningful business.’
At the beginning of the movie, Bloom is caught stealing by a safety guard. Ashamed and annoyed, he steals the guard’s watch and leaves with the stolen material. Later, when looking for a job, Bloom is rejected due to his file records as a thief. Even though he begs, people don’t trust him at all. All the dark lighting implies a heavyhearted plot, which, at that time, I assumed, aimed to stress and magnify Bloom’s desperation. I was angry about the fact that people don’t trust each other at all, and most don’t have sympathy and empathy in their hearts. While I acknowledged Bloom was not a trustworthy guy, I paradoxically pitied him for how deep bias roots in people’s heart, and how dictatorial and dogmatic people can be. I can see the eagerness to live an earnest life in his eye, as well as the craziness.
Since I never look at the skeleton of a movie before I watch it—I believe I can better enjoy the movie when knowing nothing about the plot—I had no idea what would happen at that time. I was both scared and compassionate, because Bloom’s character is crawling with self-conflictions and mystery; I couldn’t help digging into his mind.
If you are the same type of movie person as I am, you’d better watch Nightcrawler first and come back to discuss this article with me hopefully, you can find resonance here. Later on, after he sees stringers shoot the scene of a car crash, he gets himself a camera and rushes to catch the aftermath of a carjacking. He attempts to get a better shot than his rival stringer Joe Loder, and the police kick both him and Loder off the crime scene. Bloom listens in on the phone call Loder makes to the video buyer and calls the same number to sell his footage, which turns out to be a news station where he meets the morning news director, Nina Romina, an attractive middle-aged woman with a strong ambition to succeed in her business. However, the lack of exclusive and explosive news greatly hurts its rating. The arrival of Bloom’s glorious and visually extravagant footage gives her the hope of drawing in a larger audience. Nina expressed her specific interests in footages that feature well-off, white victims and poor or minority crime conductors, in order to induce unsettlement and grab viewers’ attention.
I am not going to list out all the “bombs” the amazing screenwriter Dan Gilroy buried in movie and were left to shake the audience’s value. The unforeseeable plot not only scares you, but also makes you listen to your own deepest wickedness. Humans choose not to do certain things since they are afraid and they care at the same time. However, Bloom is taking advantage of every single available resource at hand, with fear of nothing and the aspiration of taking over everything.
Hardly surprisingly, you can also see the toil, dedication, ambition, perseverance, and ceaselessly learning spirit he puts into his ‘business,’ which brought me ineffable, startling woe.
The movie also did an excellent job on lighting. Almost all the scenes were shot in the night, as its title is Nightcrawler. The murky surroundings, occasional top lighting, and nebulous scenes that sneakily happen in the night foment the theme and help build a better concept of the characters’ personalities, or, I would rather say, the dark part of human nature.
In the end, I don’t know what to say. I was immersed in fear, fright, heartbreak, shock, and more. I also felt excitement and amazement in my chest, too—it was such a good movie and performances presented by all actors in it were perfect and impressive, especially Jake Gyllenhaal’s and Riz Ahmed’s. Please don’t miss their incredible acts; definitely go watch this breathtaking movie!
Besides the deliberate and unpredictable plot; excellent lighting framing, and sounding; and near-impeccable performance skills, the dark side of the news industry depicted in this film also invoked my empathy. Society is a huge machine that can be amazing at times and scary of others. As an editorial board member of The Poly, I have to say the responsibility of media is not to dominate, not even mention manipulate, the public’s opinion for personal interest, but to inform the public of the authentic outline of events, and to inspire values and help make the world better. For people who have no idea about the Five Principles of Media Literacy, I list them out here:
1. All media is a construction.
2. The media constructs reality.
3. Audiences negotiate meaning in media.
4. Media has commercial implications.
5. Media contains ideological and value messages.