Thursday, July 9, 2015


Jake Gyllenhaal gives a remarkable performance as a manipulative, opportunistic sociopath who becomes a crime scene videographer in this gripping thriller. Losing 20 pounds for the role in order to convey a 'hungry coyote', Gyllenhaal's wild, haunted eyes echoes his breakout performance in Donnie Darko. Instead of portraying a damaged, socially awkward teen, Gyllenhaal's gaunt face conceals an amoral, dangerous predator whose weapon is a video camera. I was particularly impressed by the masterful Mexican restaurant scene, where a slick, reptilian Gyllenhaal threatens a veteran TV producer (Rene Russo in a sublime, nuanced performance) unless she begins a physical relationship with him. Gyllenhaal spouts lengthy, encyclopedic dialogue about the business of television and the ups-and-downs of Russo's character's career while implying he'll stop supplying her with lurid, ratings-grabbing crime footage, and Russo face is filled with simultaneous emotions of admiration, disgust, fear, resignation, and the startling realization that for once in her career she may not have the upper hand in a work relationship. Beautiful cinematography, an Academy Award-worthy screenplay, and an edge-of-your-seat police chase make Nightcrawler a haunting cinematic experience.

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