Sunday, November 16, 2014

3 Thoughts on Nightcrawler

1. Jake Gyllenhaal's finest performance? - For an actor who has had very little career missteps (The Edge of Tomorrow and Prince of Persia), it's weird that I never really rated Gyllenhaal as one of my favorite actors. He's been a strong presence in many movies, and has been on a career high over the past couple of years, but I think this performance has really sealed the deal. It's an astonishing, Oscar worthy performance. While most refer to the "creepiness" Gyllenhaal instills as Lou Bloom, I didn't really find him creepy at all. Instead, I thought his performance came off as a really complicated sociopath, with aspects of undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome. I really, strongly wish that the scene in the beginning didn't exist because I think it set expectations about his character. If that scene didn't exist, we would see his descent into a vicious monster as a result of a societal effect. As he discovers his interest in crime "journalism", he is praised for the images that he is capturing and the line that he is crossing - someone with personality/social disorders would take that praise and continue to push the envelope. It's a fantastic character study and Gyllenhaal takes pride in the role. It's impossible to look away.

2. Where has Rene Russo been? - First, can we talk about the fact that Rene Russo is 60 years old?! Holy cow, she looks incredible. Stunning, in fact; It seems she hasn't aged in 20 years. The real question, though, is where the fuck has she been? Other than the Thor movies, she hasn't acted in anything in 10 years and I am baffled as to why. She's such a strong actress; and she makes a gigantic impact in this movie. I hope her break from acting was her own decision and not because she wasn't getting roles. This movie proves that the acting world needs her.

2. It's Taxi Driver meets Drive meets Network? - Um, no, no, no, 10,000 times, no. I get the comparisons. The sociopathic character study can be compared to Travis Bickle; the pulpy, noir L.A vibe can be compared to the atmosphere of Drive; the edgy, unapologetic view of journalism ethics can be compared to the subject of Network. Just because it can be compared to these masterpieces, doesn't mean it should be, though. Every review that I've read has referenced one of these three movies and it is mind-boggling. Before I saw the movie, I read several one-line reviews that simply said "this year's Drive" (apparently by people who loved Drive, but may have worryingly misunderstood it). If you go into the movie expecting this; then you may be severely disappointed, as I was. If I hadn't expected a masterpiece, I may have enjoyed the movie more. It's still a strong movie; with even stronger performances, and it sits just outside of my Top 10 of the year, so far. It just doesn't come close to a masterpiece, for me.

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