Investigative journalism: The darker side

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Last weekend was a bit horrendous for movie enthusiasts as there was only one movie release at local cinemas, Nightcrawler.

This film comes from the same film writer who gave us hit movies Real Steel (2011), The Bourne Legacy (2012), Dan Gilroy.  This time he makes his directing debut with this 2014 American neo-noir crime thriller.

The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as (Louis Bloom) a thief who starts shooting footage of accidents and crimes in Los Angeles and selling them to news channels.

Gyllenhaal is quite synonymous for his captivating action performances in huge films like Jarhead a 2005 war biopic and the 2010 adventure action Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.


Alongside him, this film also features acts by Rene Russo having major influence as a morning news director and Bill Paxton a freelance investigative film crew.

Nightcrawler has a trailer that got movie enthusiasts in the mood to get a glimpse, however, the same cannot be attributed about the movie.

The thriller revolves around a young man finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murders and other mayhem.

He wants to change his bad habits into something legit.   Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of investigating night incidents - where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victim’s situation are converted into dollars and cents in the form of video footage.

Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Despite this good plot, the two-hour film does not thrill as much as one would have expected.

The film is focused too much on one person, the young man with a camera.  It lacks dialogue and other character involvement to make it fascinating.

Watching it is only reminiscent of a documentary series that aired on Btv dubbed the world’s most amazing videos, which showcased video footages of people caught on camera while in bizarre situations.

Nightcrawler does not serve its significance. On the flip side, it does take us through the art of investigative journalism where Lou goes beyond boundaries to get information he is desperate for.

The only thrilling moment about Nightcrawler is when Lou starts chasing after police calls to incidents. It is always shocking how bad movies get recognition compared to ones that deserve it. Worth noting is also the overall performance by the characters involved in the film, considering that Gyllenhaal has thrilled us before in other movies, our expectations for this movie were dashed.

Lastly Nighcrawler has a stinging message about the dark side of investigative reporting, in the fact that sometimes those involved in exposing do not care about the victims, rather the content only.

A scene in the film verifies this statement when Romina explodes in anger at Lou, demanding he gets footage that viewers ‘can’t turn away from’.

In return that made Lou more aggressive as he goes to the extent of eliminating competition as he sabotages Loder’s van, causing him to crash into a telephone pole and become gravely injured.

A quote from the movie showcasing the selfish nature of investigative reporter traits – Lou: “I can’t jeopardize my company’s success to retain an untrustworthy employee”.

This movie got commercial success at the box office. Coming from a small budget of $8 million Nightcrawler went on to amass $38 million.  However, this is a bit average considering that other Gyllenhaal movies Jarhead and Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time grossed $96m and $336.3m, respectively.  Nightcrawler was released back in September and October 2014 hence it has long slipped out of the box office chart.

Here is your guide to this week’s current top five hot movies at the box office.

1.Chappie

2.Focus

3.The Second Best Exotic Marigold

4.Kingsman: The Secret Service

5.The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

For this viewing experience Nightcrawler makes it into our books with a record low score rating of 4/10. It becomes the first movie to get such a low score.

Nightcrawler

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Duration: 1 hour 57 minutes

Age Restriction: 16

Director: Dan Gilroy

Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal plays (Louis Bloom), Bill Paxton (Joe Loder) and Rene Russo (Nina Romina)

Editor's Comment
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