Nightcrawler ★★★

As an indictment of our news media’s bloodlust and its complicity in racist fear mongering, the machinations of Nightcrawler’s Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Nina Romina (Rene Russo) have the depth and subtlety of a Chick tract. Their unashamed “if it bleeds, it leads” philosophy is transparently arranged for maximum repugnance*, presumably with the intention of ironically using TV journalism’s own brand of reductive alarmism against it. But the staging of their discussions makes for a stale polemic, too straight-faced for satire and too frank to have any real poignance as social commentary. These peculiar scenes occupy their space awkwardly, their plain statements of Nightcrawler’s apparent raison d’être reduced to simple motivation for the sociopathic Bloom, of whom the film is primarily a character study.

* Nina: “We find our viewers are more interested in urban crime creeping into the suburbs. What that means is a victim or victims, preferably well-off and/or white, injured at the hands of the poor, or a minority.”

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