Last year we saw Jake Gyllenhaal‘s lose a significant amount of weight for his part in Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler. When the film comes out this October people will likely be talking more about Gyllenhaal’s performance than how many LBs he lost. This is the project he dropped out of Into the Woods for, and it’s easy to see why. Gilroy’s script is an intense, darkly comedic, and flawlessly structured character study. It’s also Gyllenhaal’s juiciest role to date, playing an unforgettable character unlike anything we’ve seen from the actor before.
The film largely takes place at night time in Los Angeles, where the seedy environments and protagonist, Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal), dig right under your skin. This is an unsettling character operating in an even more unnerving world. He’s a freelance crime journalist, but calling him a journalist may be too kind; he’s basically a TMZ reporter for dead bodies.
To get a sense of what kind of man Louis Bloom is, watch him pleading for jobs in this teaser for Nightcrawler (via The Film Stage):
Pretty unsettling, right? This video nails the tone of the story and the spirit of the character. Louis Bloom is one of those insanely funny people who’s never trying to be funny. His pep talks, his pitches, and pretty much everything else about him rubs you the wrong way, in often comedic ways. He’s not a character anybody would want to spend time with, except for the people who pay him handsomely for his videos of the dead. If Gilroy’s script is an accurate portrayal of what this world is like, then it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes to how horrifying the business of network news is.
If it’s a heightened portrayal, then it’s still creepy as hell. Nighttime is rarely this haunting. Whenever Gilroy puts his character into daylight it’s almost cathartic, a chance to get away from Louis Bloom on the job. What’s fascinating about Bloom is, unlike how most people would, he doesn’t question whether his job is right or wrong. Plenty of audience members are going to be sickened by him, but what’s funny is, if some of those folks were offered the kind of money Bloom makes, they’d probably eat their words and pick up a camera.
Nightcrwaler is Dan Gilroy’s first feature film behind the camera. Dan Gilroy wrote Two For the Money and worked on the scripts for Real Steel, the unforgettable Free Jack (which co-starred Mick Jagger), and Tarsem Singh’s masterpiece, The Fall. Based on his script for Nightcrawler, though, it’s probable some of his finest work hasn’t yet seen the light of day. Maybe that’ll change after people meet his Louis Bloom.
Right now Nightcrawler is flying under the radar. If we had to guess, it’ll premiere at the Toronto Film Festival or the New York Film Festival. Those festival goers should consider themselves lucky, because, good or bad, seeing this film fresh is the way to go. If Dan Gilroy did his script justice, this movie and Gyllenhaal are going to blow some people away.
Nightcrawler opens in theaters on October 17th.