WEIRDLAND: Jake Gyllenhaal in "Nightcrawler" (most shocking Oscar snub)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Jake Gyllenhaal in "Nightcrawler" (most shocking Oscar snub)

The most shocking shock of the 2015 Academy Award nominations is Jake Gyllenhaal not being acknowledged for the year's best performance from a male, which he delivered in Nightcrawler.
Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler being the best of the last year isn't a leftfield opinion. It's agreed upon by many. It got nods from the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAGs, Spirits, Gothams and many critics groups around the world. If someone believes Bradley Cooper is better in American Sniper than Gyllenhaal is in Nightcrawler, they have some major judgement issues. Source:

Watch a Video clip featuring some scenes from "Nightcrawler" (2014) directed by Dan Gilroy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Rick Garcia

Anyone could tell Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the focal point of Nightcrawler, is stone crazy after spending thirty seconds with him. It’s in his eyes, and in the staccato, wired vocal delivery that reminds us of a shock radio jock in the early a.m. slot... something’s wrong in the opening minutes, after filmmaker Dan Gilroy’s dazzling hi-def montage of nighttime Los Angeles scenes wears off and we’re left alone with our boy. Lou is trespassing in a deserted railroad yard when we first meet him, looking to steal copper, wire fencing, manhole covers, etc. Soon, he discovers it’s easier and more profitable to sell video footage of traffic accidents to TV broadcasters, and so begins a tenuous but long-running relationship—according to his fly-by-night standards—with Nina (Rene Russo), news director of KWLA, the city’s lowest-rated station.

Their friendship is a little peculiar, as is Lou’s working partnership with his scatterbrained assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed), the classic dim-witted accomplice (and fall guy) to a string of felonies. First-time director Gilroy, screenwriter of The Bourne Legacy, keeps a number of hot-topic burners going as we follow Lou’s opportunistic career. Evidently the move from scrap-metal thief to crash-and-crime video ghoul is as natural for Lou as the decision to upgrade his equipment and adopt a “managerial voice” with his flunky. Crime sells on TV. Ambitious Nina recognizes Lou’s footage as sensational and is willing to pay handsomely for it: “If it bleeds, it leads.” But Lou is unwilling to settle for merely chasing police scanner squawks in his search for ever more lurid images.

Nothing stands in his way, not even rival video hound Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), who at first mocks Lou’s crummy camera but comes to marvel at his Weegee-like talent for capturing the jugular shot. He may speak like a robot but he has the eye. Lou’s standard line is that he never had much schooling but picked up things on the internet—concepts like “branding” and “market share.” Is he a raging capitalist or a psycho criminal? Rearranging bodies at a fatal accident to make a better shot comes easily for him, just like picking up your wallet if it fell on the street in front of him.

Nina shares some of Lou’s stop-at-nothing drive, but from an older, more worldweary perspective. Ethics? She’s heard of that. But most of all she admires his instinct for “news.” We’ve seen thrill-peddling characters similar to Lou, Nina, Rick, and Joe in numerous Southern California crime-in-the-sunshine films. What Gilroy brings to the discussion is the 21st-century obsession with instantaneous
voyeuristic gratification. The POV is endlessly topical.

Nina craves images of urban crime creeping into the suburbs—it’s what’s selling now. Lou essentially wants his own production company and a fleet of vans. In both instances, LA can provide. The action scenes have a snap, crackle, and pop to compare with any modern urban thriller, but with the vital cooled-out, realistic touch. At its core, despite the grisly trimmings and Gyllenhaal’s unhinged performance as Lou, Nightcrawler is coldly analytical and dry as a bone. Says Nina: “I think Lou is inspiring us to reach a little higher.”One day, if your luck fails, he might even be your boss. -"Nightcrawler: It Bled and It Led" by Kelly Vance (Noir City, Winter 2015)

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