His sophomore venture into producing, you can see why Gyllenhaal would want to make the film's memorable leading role his own. The feral child of a neo-liberal world that fails to see the delineation between journalistic integrity and the ethics of decency, Lou is a psychopath that stalks the margins of social acceptability. Ostensibly a serial killer with a predilection for success rather than masochism, Lou is an incredibly endearing anti-hero in a cinematic landscape of imitative sociopaths. Gyllenhaal barely blinks more than twice throughout the whole film, his jaw shuddering imperceptibly behind a fallacious smile, echoing the intensity of his eyes and fashioning the perfect Patrick Bateman for a world where the media-savvy sycophant has supplanted the invidious consumer as society's prevailing brand of psychopath.
During a rare dinner date, Lou illuminates us as to how the city's political news and current affairs are condensed into 22 seconds of airtime whilst the death of an affluent white man receives 15 minutes. However, behind the film's larger than life protagonist there's sadly very little subtext to this media satire other than the limp motive pushing Lou's increasing thirst for amoral behaviour. Exposing the falsity of media reporting and the perceived, yet imaginary presence of a meritocracy at a time of an exponentially expanding wealth gap, the aphorisms scattered throughout the film allude to a larger truth. Sadly, the film's inability to empower these feeble social stabs with any authenticity or depth of investigation leaves events feeling flat and forgettable. Spiralling headfirst into a generic, yet highly enjoyable thriller, Nightcrawler eventually encloses itself entirely within Gilroy's hermetically sealed world of obdurately refined characters and tired cynicism. It's a world we're all too familiar with, yet one that's hard not to become distracted by.
Patrick Gamble | @PatrickJGamble