‘Nightcrawler’ Shines Through Suspense

Nightcrawler is a beautifully shot look at one of the darker sides of the entertainment industry.

It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a titular nightcrawler, someone who records gritty crime, death and accidents for a local news station.

Gyllenhaal turns in a brilliant, potentially Oscar-nomination-worthy, performance as an ambitious sociopath that will do almost anything to get ahead. The majority of his character’s interactions with others are very uncomfortable, creating a general malaise of unease that lingers around the film. Some scenes can be so cringe-inducing they nearly become comical, causing some audience members to laugh in moments not intended to draw laughs.

The film takes place almost entirely at night in Los Angeles. The cinematography, especially the lighting, is one of the the film’s strongest point. The dark tones and shadows of L.A. at night juxtaposed against the neon lights of both the city and ambulances create a real atmosphere that matches the script’s generally murky aesthetic very well.

The suspense in “Nightcrawler” is remarkable, rarely seen in modern films. Though it takes a while to find its footing, the build up to the film’s climax hits the accelerator hard, grabbing the viewer’s attention and never letting go. Not to spoil anything, but the final scenes of the film are especially tension-packed, manipulating the anxiety level in viewers masterfully.

The music direction is disappointing, though. Often, the accompanying music does not match the tone of the film, and subtracts from the atmosphere and the immersion.

Overall, Nightcrawler is a very solid, very suspenseful film, and it’ll be surprising come Oscar season if “Nightcrawler” walks away without at least a few nominations.