At first I thought the Jake Gyllenhaal film noir “Night Crawler was a commentary on the sad state of broadcast news, but now I think otherwise. Writer-director Dan Gilroy actually provides a commentary on our society where a crazed sociopath can swim nicely with the capitalist sharks and profit handsomely in the business world.
I ask myself, who is the greater monster in this sad story? The bug eyed gaunt zombie news photographer Lou Bloom played by Gyllenhaal is the initial focus of our contempt, but things change moving along. The aging TV station gatekeeper Nina played by Rene Russo may be the real villain in the film as she aids the demented Lou to provide her with blood and gore video that will boost the news program ratings. The Nina character resembles Bette Davis as “Baby Jane” with more eye makeup than Tammy Faye ever contemplated.
There’s some kvetching about what she will and won’t do with the photographer sexually, but otherwise they get along swimmingly.
Gilroy, in an interview on the DVD, provides a perspective on the Lou character who spews Management by Objective nonsense and other business school dictums to his homeless sidekick employee. Gilroy said that Lou is a product of the generation who spends a lifetime glued to the internet with little socializing. This explains his lack of compassion and humanity in part. So if it’s a slow news day one needs to stage manage events with a macabre twist and sell it to Channel 6 for the 11 pm news.
The real star of “Night Crawler” may be the 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT that is but a blur of red flashing before my eyes but I love that blur.