Nightcrawler posterMovies like Nightcrawler pose a real challenge for me as a frequent film ‘opinionator’ because I simply didn’t like it nearly as much as I’m supposed to, especially considering my ‘day job’ in broadcast news. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for creepy and disturbing. And that’s exactly what Nightcrawler is – a crime thriller that left me feeling more distressed than entertained. I’m sure that’s what the filmmakers were going for. But who needs to PAY for that?

Yes, the performances are excellent. Jake Gyllenhaal got all gaunt and wild-eyed to play Lou Bloom, a smart but psychotic petty thief who stumbles upon a new career as a nightcrawler in Los Angeles – filming and selling grisly accident and crime scene footage to the highest bidder(s). And Rene Russo is chillingly good as Nina, an ethically-challenged news director determined to do whatever it takes to get her struggling TV station out of the ratings cellar.

The film is meant to be satire. It’s filled with over-the-top characterizations of the seedy underbelly of local (and in many cases these days, national) news and even features a host of real LA news personalities, which only serves to further blur the line between news and entertainment. Sad to say there really ARE plenty of gonzo ‘photojournalists’ out there working for the likes of TMZ and On Scene video to secure the type of footage that the public so often claims to not want to see, right before they help it go viral. If there weren’t a market for what they provide, nightcrawlers would cease to exist.

Bottom line: Feel free to check out the trailer below, and other reviews, to decide if Nightcrawler might be worth your time and money, despite my personal cynicism and muted praise… while I go cleanse my movie palate with a sappy drama or romcom.

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