Jake Gyllenhaal is lean and hungry in this lurid thriller, a study of the pulpy world of underground L. A. crime journalism, and the directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy.
Finding a group of freelance camera crews who “nightcrawl” – that is to say, come out at night to film crashes, murders and assorted violence and sell their gruesome footage to local TV stations – Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) soon muscles in on the dangerous and morally dubious world of vigilante journalism, where each police siren equals a possible payday.
Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the scene, he thrives. Ruthless in his quest to get to the stop, he inevitably crosses ethical lines – when a scene isn’t gory enough, he’ll happily rearrange it to suit – seeming not to care how this affects the evidence.
A deeply satisfying modern noir with a superb performance from Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler is a fantastically compelling watch.