Review of Nightcrawler (2014)

Moving picture, 117 minutes

Seen in 2020.

A psycho- or sociopathic thief enters the business of “nightcrawling” LA to sell sensational footage to TV’s morning news.

A well-crafted thriller. It’s a little like Taxi Driver (1976), but transported from the era when urban decay was actually happening to a later era when urban decay had been substantially mythologized. Gilroy’s depiction of television is rich with the economic drivers of that mythology and implies some of the race-based fear, but the political drivers are absent. The presence of television as an apolitical psychological force that warps the mind of Lou Bloom—and Nina Romina—adds a touch of Scorsese’s later The King of Comedy (1982), but Bloom’s madness is much more realistic and less personal, straight out of the DSM with the eerie corporate jargon of online courses instead of De Niro’s talking to himself. Romina appears pretty cracked in the final scenes, which is less logical and brings down the ending.

moving picture fiction