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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.


  1. This looks like a great movie, I really like Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor. I will probably wait until it comes on cable.

  2. I heard about this movie. they say it’s good but very dark. I really need to watch it. sounds like my kind of movie.

  3. I can’t wait to see this movie. It’s right up my alley!

  4. This sounds right up my husband’s alley. I will have to tell him about it.

  5. I want to see this. Looks interesting.

  6. Sounds interesting, although I generally don’t like dark shows. I may have to give it a try.

  7. Jake is an awesome actor. I’d love to see this one myself!

  8. Whoa! I’m glad you explained more about the plot because I’ve seen the preview and it just left me clueless. I’m sure this was a book or something. It reminds me of a character from Xmen, but I figured it wasn’t that.

  9. Oooo I want to see it just to see LA in all its glory then! I was already interested in the movie before though. Sounds so good! Thanks!

  10. I haven’t seen that movie yet. It looks really good though. May have to go see it.

  11. I have heard about this. However, I never really knew what it was about.

  12. I am not familiar with this movie. Based upon this article, I am interested and would like to see it.

  13. I can’t wait to see this movie. I love anything that has Jake in it.

  14. I have to say, I’ve never met a Jake Gyllenhall film that I didn’t like. Looking forward to this one, too!

  15. Looks interesting. I have not seen the previews for this. Looking forward to it now.

  16. This movie looks so good! Jakes character looks so creepy

  17. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    It sounds like a fascinating portrayal of the seedier side of life. Since you recommended it, I will put it on my list.

  18. I echo what Helene said, plus I love Jake and Rene. I stayed in LA once for a job and was blessed NOT to see that side of it! 🙂

  19. Unfortunately I missed this in theaters, but I heard good things about it. Will catch it when it’s out on dvd.

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