After walking out of a screening of Nightcrawler, I am pretty certain that I have seen one of the best films of 2014. Exploring the psychopathic nature of modern capitalism and business enterprising in a manner to films such as American Psycho dressed in a similar tone to Drive. Jake Gylenhaal takes centre stage in this character driven story with a supporting cast that includes Rene Russo and Bill Paxton in limited supporting roles who serve to draw attention to the main selling points of the film, like pieces of meat hanging on display at the butchers shop. A testament of how our main character – Lou Bloom – views the rest of the world.
Lou Bloom is an eccentric character, ruthless, manipulative and ambitious. He literally and figuratively drives the story through a highway of prospects that he’s always so keenly aware off. This leads him towards various encounters that he cunningly takes advantage of unashamedly and without a shred of remorse. His unapologetic conduct ensures that he fully exploits every moment that you rarely see him in trouble for. He is a living breathing personification of a business enterprise with every word from his mouth sounding like a rehearsed sales pitch or marketing slogan, the most memorable of which is his view that “To win the lottery, you’ve got to make the money to buy a ticket”. Superficially harmless at first glance, it is a chilling insight into ruthless nature of the character.
Largely anti-social, his isolation is only a means to an end which he uses to exploit every encounter he makes, like a machine process playing out accordingly. The effect of which is that in spite of the random nature of his interactions, he is always in control. Like the way he builds leverage to acquire more power over Rene Russo’s character, professionally and sexually. He eventually surpasses and obliterates his competition in Bill Paxton and eliminates a threat presented by his hapless employee played by Riz Ahmed. Each and every one of these relationships, though superficial at best, helps to express the character’s world view.
The movie’s dark tone registers the dark side of ambition, power and consumerism. People are dehumanized to the point of being nothing but meat. This film shares a scary insight into human nature told from the point of a character who as audience we are meant to connect to and in whom we see ourselves, no matter how much we choose to judge him.
At the end of the day it’s just business as usual.