Matt Adcock at the cinema: Nightcrawler review

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

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Hello there, I’m Nightcrawler, Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal). No, not the blue-skinned teleporting X-man, but a freelance crime journalist.

I’m the guy who gets to crime scenes and films as soon as possible after getting tipped off by my police scanner. If I can tape the gory details with my camcorder there’s a good chance I can sell them on to a TV news station.

Yes, my methods are frowned upon by many people. I mean if you’re dying from a car crash or mugging attack, I’m sure the last thing you’ll want to see is me standing over you filming your final moments, but everyone loves inside scoops on crimes and accidents don’t they?

At the moment I’m in a bit of a pickle. I hit the mother lode when I got to a home invasion-murder scene before the police. I even managed to capture footage of killers leaving the scene. So my life could be in danger, but then again, I possibly might just be a hero here and bag the best ever ‘live crime footage’ into the bargain.

Nightcrawler is the stunning debut film by director Dan Gilroy and he has created an impressive pulse-pounding terror ride that feels like a cross between American Psycho, Drive and Broadcast News. Gyllenhaal is just incredible in the lead role, a walking overdose of unhinged energy, manic determination and charismatic vigour.

Watching Lou get ever closer to the very crimes he is recording is truly unnerving and when the line between observer and participant begins to be crossed, all bets are off.

The rest of the cast that include Bill Paxton as a rival crime journalist, Riz Ahmed as Lou’s long-suffering employee and Rene Russo as the TV broadcaster who buys Lou’s footage are on top form.

Nothing can adequately prepare you for the dark heart that throbs throughout this film. Not for the faint of heart, there are disturbing scenes and violence and adult themes throughout, but if looking for a powerful thriller that will blow you away, there isn’t anything else out there like this.

I can honestly say that the climactic 20 minutes of Nightcrawler are potentially the tensest I’ve experienced.

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