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Nightcrawler - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
Published December 5th 2014
If it bleeds it leads

We first meet the seriously creepy anti-hero of Nightcrawler (Louis Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal) when he is disturbed by a security guard while stealing fencing and man-hole covers to sell as scrap metal.

Bloom attacks the guard, steals his watch, and sells the loot.
When Bloom sees "nightcrawler" cameramen swooping down on a bloody accident, and selling the footage for television news he has an revelation this is the way to make money. He steals a bike to get the money for a cheap camera and police scanner.

Bloom clearly has serious psychological issues, which ironically help his new-found career, as his lack of human empathy help him to document human misery, blood and death in high definition close-up.

The film becomes a chillingly convincing expose of exploitative journalism.

The dark humour of Bloom's mastery of managerial double-speak contrasts with his cold manipulation of people and events to maximise their on-screen impact.

"If it bleeds, it leads" becomes his driving motivation.

We are simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by this film.
Gyllenhaal's acting is superb making his character repellent yet engaging. Nina (Rene Russo) is convincing as the TV producer whose only motivation is ratings, and whose only constraints are ensuring that she can legally get away with the intrusive blood and gore she airs each night.

Each deserves the other.

"Nightcrawler" paints a grim picture of the hungry sensationalism of the 24/7 news cycle.

And the disturbing thing is that we sense that it is not too far from what is actually happening in media-land.


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Why? Because it is challenging and convincing
When: Currently playing
Where: Across Australia
Cost: $15
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