There’s a fine line between dark comedy and creepy. Nighcrawler walks that line with conviction, and it’s completely believable. Jake Gyllenhaal helps its believability–never once going too much over the top. When the movie is over you have to remind yourself that it was the same guy who plays the charming pharmaceutical rep in Love and Other Drugs. I thought he was fantastic in Prisoners, and he stepped his game up even more with his performance here.
It’s beautifully shot and properly paced. There is one scene, however, that is slightly tonally jarring. Near the end when Nina (Rene Russo) awkwardly submits to Lou (Gyllenhaal) after he gives her the last video, it just seems slightly out of line for her character. It was too abrupt for me.
You have a difficult time liking any of the characters, although the direction is good enough that we end up rooting for Lou the entire time only realizing towards the end that we probably shouldn’t have been. And then we feel weird about it.
The social commentary regarding the media is smart and real. Although it may get lost in everything around it, it gets the job done for the audience, the entire time lying right below preachy, which is a good place to be for a film of this nature.
It may be unrealistic at times, but the performances and the direction don’t allow you to harp on it that much. As the ball keeps on rolling, we gradually get to see Lou spiral out of control even more than when we first see him at the beginning of the film. You won’t like the main protagonist, but you can’t deny that it’s a really well-made film.