I love love love the new Beauty and the Beast movie. One of the best parts, of course, is the Beast’s library, so I wrote “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels” for USA Today 10Best.Read All Entries
At our end-of-the-year vote yesterday, the San Diego Film Critics Society named Nightcrawler Best Picture of the Year. Because, as a group, we are apparently enamored with the film, we also gave it half a dozen other awards, including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Score.
Many of you have already looked at me like I was crazy for going along with this (although, for the record, I voted for Selma and would have voted for Tracks if we had nominated it) so I want to tell you why Nightcrawler is actually a great choice and why you should go see the movie.
Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a desperate but creepily charismatic scavenger who prowls the streets of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, stealing anything he can get his hands on. When he asks for a job at a scrap yard where he’s selling these goods, he’s told, “I’m not hiring a fucking thief.” Duh.
Undeterred, he comes upon the scene of a car crash and discovers a whole new line of work through a freelance cameraman (Bill Paxton) who is filming the graphic rescue of the bloody victim. When Bloom sees his video leading the TV news the next morning, he gets himself a camera and a police scanner and sets out into the night, looking for human suffering — and literally getting right into its face.
Bloom quickly realizes he is perfectly suited for this job and, as he forms a business relationship with Nina (Rene Russo), a news executive of a struggling local TV station, he is encouraged to delve deeper and deeper into the underbelly of the city. His footage becomes more shocking as he follows Nina’s philosophy, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and he oversteps every line in his desire to fill her — and her viewers’ — insatiable hunger for horror.
This is a dark, original and totally fascinating story. Through moments that betray all boundaries of privacy and taste, director Dan Gilroy naturally proves his point that it’s almost impossible to look away from a train wreck. We bemoan the tragedy and cover our eyes with our hands, yet quietly peek through our fingers.
Gyllenhaal and Russo are perfect as unlikely collaborators in the WTF world of giving the people what they want.
Perhaps the biggest star in Nightcrawlers, though, is Los Angeles itself. You’ve never seen the city like this before. And, hopefully, for your sake, you’ll never see it like this in real life.