Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler had an impactful world premiere in Toronto, where it delighted audiences and received a thunderous response from festival-goers at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday. The movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners), had generated serious interest with it’s buzz worthy trailers and an uber-creepy Gyllenhaal in what seemed to be a manic performance. Judging from the critical reaction out of Toronto, the debut delivered on those expectations.
The response has been mainly positive, and comparisons have been lofty, with critics drawing parallels between Nightcrawler and films like Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Lumet’s Network, placing Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom character in a similar platform as Robert DeNiro’s iconic Travis Bickle. Although it is premature to label Nightcrawler an awards contender – because of it’s apparently hard-boiled approach and “genre film” label – some critics are stating that it has all the makings of a classic.
For Gyllenhaal, whose work last year in Denis Velleneuve’s Prisoners, and Enemy gave him some deserved attention in Toronto, Nightcrawler appears to be a successful repeat performance for the actor.
But while Gyllenhaal is deservedly getting a lot of praise for what people are describing as a career-best performance, Dan Gilroy’s direction and screenplay are also being lauded. Gilroy, brother of acclaimed writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), has been known for penning action-fare like Real Steel and The Bourne Legacy. With Nightcrawler, Gilroy has put together a work that has been described as dark, seedy, and occasionally satirical, an exposé on the underbelly of L.A. celebrity and paparazzi culture.
Nightcrawler is a neo-noir set in the grim L.A. sub-culture of crime journalism. Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a hapless loner who finds a calling in recording the sometimes gruesome aftermath of tragedies and accidents and selling the footage to the local news. Once engulfed in the job, Bloom’s ambition creates in him a willingness to heighten and sensationalize the footage he films in often disturbing ways. Rene Russo, Gilroy’s wife, plays the news director who develops both a professional and personal relationship with Bloom.
Open Road Films has scheduled Nightcrawler for an October 17th release date.