Jake Gyllenhaal stars as this year's creepiest character. A cross between Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) and Rupert Pupkin (The King of Comedy), he slithers his way through the LA nights as a "photo journalist" looking for the bloodiest accidents and crime scenes he can find to sell to the local TV station. A true "nightcrawler".
His character, Louis Bloom is introduced to us as a petty thief. Through a series of events, he soon finds himself, video camera by his side, racing through the night with his police scanner announcing his next big payoff. Louis is a sociopath and it's what makes him so good at his new found profession. He hires an "intern" played by Riz Ahmed, promising him a good job review with a promotion and a raise. Mr. Ahmed plays dimwitted beautifully and his character is both tragic and comic relief.
Rene Russo (so good to see her on screen again) plays the midnight shift news director who buys Lou's videos (if it bleeds, it leads). In many ways, they are perfect for each other and the chemistry between the actors is terrific. Bill Paxton also co-stars as a rival nightcrawler.
The story is dark and filled with tension as the stakes are raised with each news worthy story. Lines are crossed when reporting the news blurs into manipulating the news and watching the film is like watching a train wreck. You want to turn away but you can't help yourself. Mr. Gyllenhaal owns the screen and is magnetic, his eyes popping out of his head, focused solely on getting the story at all costs. It's a fantastic performance in a film that made me want to take a shower after it ended...to wash off the dirt and slime.