Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Nightcrawler

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)

Nichtcrawler Poster

Written & Directed by Dan Gilroy

Starring  Jake GyllenhaalRene RussoRiz Ahmed & Bill Paxton

Nightcrawler is the story of a brilliant sociopath searching for his life’s calling. Louis Bloom is played by Jake Gyllenhaal and he plays him as a man who can mimic emotion but doesn’t feel them. So he gets into freelance video journalism. Because he’s brilliant, studies the field from every angle and approaches every person as a problem to be solved, a riddle to be cracked, a negotiation to be won, I love this character, even though he is a deplorable and psychopathic human being. The movie, however, is annoying.

Verdict: SPOILED

Jake Gyllenhaal


Louis Bloom is a fascinatingly original character. Maybe you could compare him to Rosamund Pike’s Gone Girl in that they are both ruthlessly efficient. Except that her motivations were emotional. His is more calculated. I think the major difference between the two would be that she is able to turn off her emotions and do awful things while he doesn’t have to turn his off. Because he feels nothing.

Nightcrawler PHOTO CREDIT: Chuck Zlotnick

Jake Gyllenhaal is brilliant and he’s charming and he’s fit and good-looking. He’s just really fucking scary in this. I liked this movie at times but did not love it. It is a good thriller. The subject is interesting and the movie is well-done. With exciting car chases and a fantastic performance from Gyllenhaal. But the way it ends just annoyed me.

Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal

The only other major characters in Nightcrawler are a news producer played expertly by Rene Russo and Bloom’s assistant played by Riz Ahmed. And neither of them are particularly likable either. I think the movie was a little too long and gets too far into the minutia of what these freelance news gatherers do. But it’s the movie’s complete lack of a moral center that annoyed me most. There is one objecting voice but it is a weak one.


Nightcrawler is a fascinating character study, but I wanted a little more than that. And much like Gone Girl it is yet another movie that rewards sociopaths and psychopaths and fails to punish them in any way. And I don’t have to tell you guys but that theme is getting old for me. (see Amorality Tale, Amorality Tale 2 and Amorality Tale 3 for details)

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

That feeling at the end that they leave you with in Nightcrawler. The “he’s still out there” feeling is a lot like what the local news tries to do to get ratings. With their need to make their viewers think that people like this are entirely too common and are coming for your family. A big reason why I don’t watch local news. And why I didn’t like this movie. Instead of condemning the evil of the main character, it practically promotes it.

Nightcrawler is good but it’s part of the problem that it highlights… sensationalism.

– Mel


2 thoughts on “Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Nightcrawler

  1. Wow Mel, great review! But should I watch this film or not? I agree with you about moral ambiguity in movies and TV these days. The Wolf of Wall Street was also guilty of this. The idea that we were asked to except the actions of the complete degenerate was annoying. And the fact that we’re supposed to forgive this sociopath left me with a bad feeling about this film even though it was wonderfully acted and directed. A better example is the film The Third Man. Harry Lime is a sociopath but he’s a very likable sociopath. However, in the end Harry gets his due. The film was written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed and as usual Orson Welles was brilliant as Harry Lime. Wish more films take their cue from The Third Man and stop trying to be so damn non-judgment about sociopaths.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good movie. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing. It’s just another one of those films where the smartest person is also evil and they do anything to get ahead and they learn nothing and we learn nothing and I just wish these movies would also tell the story of how screwed-up these people’s lives are by the way they act and not just how they benefit from it.


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