With additional reporting by Josh Horowitz.
Well, it's Halloween, and you know what that means: there aren't any new horror movies in theaters.
If you need any other proof that "Nightcrawler" is the only movie you need for the spookiest of all weekends, I've spelled it out pretty clearly below.
Jake Gyllenhaal is Hollywood's Most Underrated Actor
Seriously. It's amazing to me that we're not talking about him all the time, the way we do about Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Though those three have had more success in tentpoles and we'd like to forget "Prince of Persia," it's important to consider movies like "Prisoners." Without Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki (the name still makes me giggle), that movie is a lot of Hugh Jackman yelling at a shower. And if I have to tell you anything about the greatness of "Zodiac," I don't even know why we're having this conversation.
This is the performance of his career.
As Louis Bloom, Gyllenhaal is unrecognizable on almost every level. His emaciated face looks like someone gift wrapped a skull. (You obviously know what's underneath. No need to shake.) Bloom's quirks abound, making him a wholly original creation form Gyllenhaal and writer-director Dan Gilroy, but there are flashes here and there of other great performances. One scene in particular reminded me of top-form Tom Cruise.
But he doesn't outshine his co-stars.
With a loud, showy character like Louis Bloom, it's easy for the supporting players to get sucked into a scenery-chewing black hole, but both Renee Russo and Riz Ahmed stand their ground and work perfectly alongside Gyllenhaal.
It's funny as hell.
All of the trailers — besides the great red-band one — portray the movie as a creep fest with a car chase, and while the movie is that, it's also extremely funny. "Dan Gilroy and I were laughing pretty much the whole movie," Gyllenhaal told MTV at TIFF. "We knew we kinda landed on it when we'd finish a take and bust up laughing."
Dan Gilroy is a serious talent that you need to pay attention to right now.
Gilroy worked exclusively as a screenwriter until "Nightcrawler," his directorial debut, but it's immediately clear that not only does this guy know how to write movies but how to shoot them as well. The rhythm and feel of this movie is so confident from the very first frame. "Nightcrawler" presents a cinematic vision of Los Angeles as a beautiful, barren cityscape.
The movie is absolutely gorgeous.
Gilroy can't take all the credit for the looks of the film, however, since Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit shot the thing. (Fun fact: Elswit is Jake Gyllenhaal's godfather.) Elswit's work includes "There Will Be Blood," for which he won an Academy Award, "The Town," and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."
We need more movies like this.
This movie couldn't have cost that much to make, but it's more exhilarating that any two of this summer's tentpoles combined. With a mid-range budget, a talented cast and filmmaker, and a smart script, "Nightcrawler" has literally everything a movie needs.
"Nightcrawler" is in theaters now."