Another day, another trailer for a festival favorite with an early rumored Oscar nomination, this time for Jake Gyllenhaal. It certainly looks as though he’s been building to this performance over the last few years with the likes of End of Watch, Prisoners, and Enemy. He’s lost some weight for the role of aspiring crime photographer Lou Bloom, nothing like Bale in The Machinist or McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, but just enough to physically transform into a leaner, hungrier character. And that weight loss also makes his eyes, already normally pretty big, seem to pop with feverish intensity.
In some ways, Nightcrawler seems the kind of character study and commentary on life in America during a sinking economy that was more prevalent in the 70’s, and its main theme of media eating away at society an evolution of movies like Network, updated for the internet/TMZ generation. Rene Russo has been gone for almost a decade now, but her recent appearances in the Thor films may have led to her being cast here, and it looks like a noteworthy performance and perhaps even a possibility for a supporting actress nomination as well. And Bill Paxton appears to be doing more naturalistic, subdued work that some of his lighter, breezier, more mannered and theatrical performances. This is also the feature directorial debut of Dan Gilroy, brother of Tony. Tony gave us Michael Clayton, Duplicity, and has been the main screenwriter and architect behind the theatrical Bourne franchise. Most recently, Dan wrote The Fall, Real Steel, and co-wrote The Bourne Legacy, which apparently led to a deal to direct his own script.
I’m very excited for this one, and hope that the energy we see in the trailer carries throughout the feature. In a world post-C.S.I., elements like paparazzi and crime photographers racing to beat police to crime scenes, and even altering crime scenes, may not be 100% new or original, but if updated and done right this may strike a nerve in the current climate, particularly if Gyllenhaal’s performance can deliver on the promise shown here.