Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job of playing our clearly insane hero. Bill Paxton has a small role as a rival freelancer. The rest of the cast does a good job, but they are not people whose faces rang a lot of bells for me. It was made to look like life on the night time streets of LA and it does a good job of keeping everything in shadows and mostly hidden from sight.
The gist of the story is how this horrible person goes around every night filming close-up shots of car wrecks and murder victims and plane crashes and the like. He gets the big bucks because he goes right up to the broken and bleeding bodies and films them.
I have to admit that the next morning, while watching the local news, I saw several shots that could have come from Nightcrawler. Shots of a gun laying on the ground and shots of cops standing around in flashing strobe lights. What makes the story work is the fact that local news stations pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for bits of video with audience appeal. I have to wonder if that is true anymore.
I’m a professional photographer and I can tell you that people with cell phones and cheap digital cameras have radically changed the market. A friend of mine used to work as a photographer for a newspaper, but they now get most of their local interest photos from Twitter and Facebook and people who submit the photos for free. I have to believe that the same is true of video. Doesn’t every station end by saying ‘Please share your photos and videos with us?’Nightcrawler was not a great movie. It looked good enough, but the story sucked. The villain wins, and I’m rarely a big fan of that.