By: Matthew Gilman
I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into with this film. The previews didn’t both to explain what the plot was and only established that Jake Gyllenhaal’s Character, Lou Bloom, is crazy.
The movie opens up with Lou Bloom, a desperate yet motivated young man who is looking for what he wants to do with his life. We meet him while he is stealing anything he can sell to make rent. Later we find out he is self educated and over time he has embraced the worst aspects of capitalism in America.
Witnessing a car accident Lou discovers that people can make money filming horrible stuff happening to everyday people. Working as a freelance cameraman Lou sets out to start his own company filming any news event that comes his way. Along the way he commits attempted murder against his competitors, sets up the police putting them in a horrible situation only to film it for the news, and blackmails/ rapes the news producer he works with.
Some people may question if the news producer was raped or not. Lou uses his position of power to blackmail the producer into a sexual relationship. We learn later she “agrees” but we also learn that he was not satisfied with it when he complains “next time be more involved instead of just laying there like the last time in your apartment.” It doesn’t sound like she is a willing participant in the relationship.
Lou bloom embraces everything that is wrong with American capitalist society throughout the movie. He consistently puts the job and money over the welfare of everyone involved. When he talks he sounds like any of the self help gurus you can find on the internet or any douche bag boss that is fluent in corporate lingo. Carl Marx would have been proud of this movie since it points out everything he taught as the social repercussions of capitalism. Everything was up for negotiation. Everything has a price and there wasn’t anything that wasn’t for sale.
Not since Taxidriver have I seen a movie that so embraced the mental conditioning of young men in a society that feeds off of them. When Deniro goes to the taxi company and they ask him what he wants to work. “I’ll work any shift, anywhere, anytime.” The key phrase that any company wants to hear from a potential employee they can take advantage of. Just like in Nightcrawler we learn that Deniro’s character is mentally ill and isn’t living in the same reality as everyone else. In both movies, regardless of the horrible acts and situations that these guys commit or participate in society glorifies them and enables them to keep going with their self destructive pattern.
Nightcrawler doesn’t glorify Lou as a hero. He is definitely defined as an anti hero. He is not the fun loving anti hero of Cool Hand Luke or Rebel Without a Cause. Lou is the anti hero that throws the mentality of the good go getter that corporations encourage for the greater good of profits. Lou is by definition the Amway salesman on crack.
Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.