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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

If it bleeds, it leads.


Plot Overview

Under an auspicious full moon, the lights and sights of nighttime L.A. are panned for us until the camera rests on one of its denizens Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllen­haal) gnawing away at a chain link fence with a pair of bolt cutters. A security guard (Michael Papa­john) confronts him, and he admires the guard's uniform and notices his watch as he gives him an innocent sounding explanation. In my experience guards don't usually let one walk up so close to them, and here we see why as Lou walks away from the prone guard wearing his watch. The reason why he wasn't wearing that uniform after the time he once applied, we presume, was some­thing called a back­ground check.

Lou is a new kid on the block and there is next to nothing given of his back­ground. From his affable manner, the way he's mesmerized by the lit-up city, and his favorite expression, “You have to make the money to buy a ticket,” we might gather he was from a small town where either his rep or just the constraints of working for a living motivated him to set out for the big city. The coyote is a scavenger that unlike other medium size predators has adapted itself to modern urban environ­ments. Lou is a quick study (“I'm a very very quick learner”) and before long he's bedecked him­self with a Realistic Patrol­man Pro scanner and a low end video camera. He's a stringer trolling the city for news­worthy footage (“If it bleeds, it leads.”)

His home life consists of watering his pot plant and learning his trade off the Internet (“I study a lot online.”) The reputation of pot as a gateway drug, and the opening scenes where he sells a literal gate­way for scrap, are a clue that his thievery for capital investment money is a gate­way to capital crime. His success necessitates that he take on hired help (interns maybe?) What a coyote will do is come play with a neighbor­hood pup and lead it into the woods where it soon finds itself surrounded by hungry eyes. This is the kind of "dog" you wouldn't want your Fido to play with. Lou's interns could well end up the bloody “product.”


W/o much depth of background we're left with the "birds of a feather" approach to scope out Lou's character. The kind of intern Lou takes on from the streets is Rick “You trick” (Riz Ahmed.) To Rick's objection that he's straight, Lou replies that straight people can trick. The woman Lou sells his product to is Channel 6 vampire shift news director Nina Romina (Rene Russo) whose profes­sional­ism prevents her from dating her associates, but she's willing to make a professional courtesy date with Lou when he insists. Lou flocks with people who play it straight EXCEPT for … . Lou's own personal exception to playing it straight is he “don't like people.” Let's see how that works.

For not loving his neighbor, he's not keeping his heart with due diligence (Prov. 4:23). But he's never cursed in front of an employer (Prov. 4:24), nor to we hear him swear at all. He's focused—a sign at the station reads "FOCUS"—on his goals (Prov. 4:25.) He is really good at getting his business model together, (Prov. 4:26) “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be estab­lished.” But he gets into mischief left and right (Prov. 4:27.) So aside from not caring for people and getting into mischief, Lou is an impressive business­man.

When the police question him how he shot the footage of a fatal home invasion before the cops arrived—remember he has a scanner—, he presents him­self as some kind of Boy Scout doing a good deed: he just happened to be in the neighbor­hood when he heard the security alarm ringing and walked inside to see if he could be of assistance. While there he shot footage, because that's his job. When they ask him how he came to be set up to film at the location of the fatal shoot­out with the police, he's got another story about calling 9–1–1 on the perps after he shook their tail. The cops aren't happy with his story, and we under­stand why his former home town wouldn't let him wear the Boy Scout uniform. Scouts are supposed to be “morally straight,” and this guy is bent despite straight patches.

Visionary Maria Valtorta records a certain conver­sation of Jesus and his disciples, which may show us a perspective: (456–457/461)

« Holiness is linear, simple, perfect and has but two extremities, like a straight line. »

« It is easy to draw a straight line. »

« Do you think so? You are wrong. In a drawing, even if it is a complicated one, some imperfections may not be noticed. But an error is noticed at once in a straight line: either in inclination or uncertainty. Joseph, when he taught me the trade, insisted a great deal that the boards should be straight and quite rightly he used to say: “See, son? A small imper­fection may not be seen in a decor­ation or in a turned work, because the eye, unless it is very exper­ienced, if it watches one point, does not see another. But if a board is not as straight as it should be, even the most simple work will not be satis­fac­tory, such as a poor table for a peasant. It will be on a slant or it will wobble. It is only good for the fire.” We can say the same applies to souls. If we do not want to be good but for the eternal fire, that is, if we want to conquer Heaven, we must be perfect like a board which is planed and squared properly. … .

Therefore, order and charity. Then, holding those two extremities firm in two vices, so that they may not move, you can work at all the rest, decorations or carving, what­ever it may be. Have you under­stood? »

Lou is commendable for his orderly approach to business, but he lacks charity, causing his intern Rick to peg him as having “a weird-ass way of looking at shit.” Jesus might say he's warped. Birds of a feather flocking together, his associates practice sexual bents irrespective of any orien­tation per se. This is remin­iscent of a recent Supreme Court decision allowing the private organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to refuse admission of openly gay members on account of the scout pledge to be “morally straight.” Straight means straight all the way; other­wise it's not straight. A picture of a native American Indian on Lou's wall might remind us that America isn't perfect, look at how it treated them, so maybe gays can be assimilated into our mixed up culture more easily than they can be into the BSA.

Production Values

“Nightcrawler” (2014) was written and directed by Dan Gilroy. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton. Rene Russo is Gilroy's spouse in real life. Jake Gyllenhaal was really a work reminding me of a hungry coyote, with the full moon at start and end of the flick accentuating this feeling. It's rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language (but it's not pervasive.) Its cinema­tog­rapher was Robert Elswit. The team came across with fantastic acting using a strong interesting script, held together by solid editing, remarkable cinema­tog­raphy, and a saucy James Newton Howard score.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Nightcrawler” kept me riveted to my seat. It exceeded all my expectations yet let me out of the theater without this night­crawler being overly long. The car chases were a trip without being unrealistic: the police, bad guys, and stringers all had their motives for speed, with various degrees of driving profic­iency. There was necessarily a lot of blood. This one is hard to walk away from and forget. It makes the city seem scary. If you don't mind a creepy main character, this one's a winner.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A scattering of suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, Rev. 1769. Software.

Valtorta, Maria. The Gospel as Revealed to Me. Vol. 1. Translated from Italian by Nicandro Picozzi, M.A., D.D.  Revised by Patrick McLaughlin, M.A. This 2nd English Edition has now replaced the First English Edition, The Poem of the Man-God. WEB.