Jake Gyllenhaal is lowlife Louis Bloom. He makes his living stealing and pawning stuff. He is also not above harming people to get out of situations. One night he discovers Joe Loder…a camera man who patrols the night for accidents, murders and other tragedies so he can sell the footage to television news. This ends up to be a perfect job for Louis.
A lot of films are about an arc…a good character being corrupted…a corrupt character finding redemption. That is not this film. Louis is soulless, lacking any compassion. This serves him well as he starts excelling at the exploitation of people’s pain and suffering. Gyllenhaal is intense and frightening in the role. He is a sociopath, filming the suffering of even people in his own life. The footage is what matters, not the people.
In spite of the darkness of Louis, this film makes it hard to look away and draws you in, hoping for that moment where Louis might show a spark of humanity. But Louis is cruelly satisfied with who he is. Nightcrawler is a good and effective film, but also unrelentingly dark.