In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal gives yet another in a string of incredibly good performances. This film follows his two collaborations with Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners and Enemy; he was wonderful in both of them and his work here is just as good. In this film, Gyllenhaal plays a mysterious drifter who finds himself drawn into the neon-drenched, shadowy night world of freelance crime journalism. In that world, he finds that there are no limits for a man who has no morals, no boundaries and no fear. It’s a great performance and a great film. It’s a slick, neo-noir masterpiece. Gyllenhaal dominates the screen with a full throttle, creepy, menacing performance. Rene Russo does her best work in . . . maybe ever as a self-loathing exec at a news TV station. Riz Ahmed gives a wonderful, twitchy performance as a naïve innocent that comes under Gyllenhaal’s sway. The film is beautifully shot; the L.A. nightscapes are foreboding. The film is often, as in a late-night home invasion, incredibly suspenseful and tense. The film hits its targets perfectly; it functions as a wonderful, occasionally darkly funny satire on the modern culture of journalism and the assent of shock journalism. The plot gets no spoilers from me; and in fact the trailer gives away more than it should, so watch it at your peril. But definitely go see the film. It’s a taut, smart, gorgeous, thrilling, grim character study. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – smart, glossy, nihilistic thriller succeeds and gives Gyllenhaal another opportunity to show his considerable genius. 4 stars.