This extremely creepy character is a great tool for commentary on the news media. I had the same affection for the character as I had for Dexter. The main character is not a good person but he is completely hypnotic. This movie gets a green light from me for excellent storytelling on an unsavory subject. I wanted to take a shower after watching it.
Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a common thief who stumbles on a car accident. An independent news videographer, Joe (Bill Paxton), is filming and Lou overhears that you can make money by showing up at these horrific accidents and violent crimes. He quickly gets a camera and starts shoving his way into this industry. He hires an Intern, Rick (Riz Ahmed), to help park the car and get some second camera footage. As Lou becomes more successful, he starts to switch from filming the news to choreographing the footage to make a better product that sells better.
Lou's driven nature is one of his biggest character traits but it’s not tempered by any sort of ethics. He talks a great game of high moral standard but it really is only to better his own standing, which I think makes his connection with the news network perfect. Often I feel that they use sensationalism to blow news stories out of proportion to better their ratings. Really liked how Lou is the embodiment of that mindset.
Another good relationship in the film is between Nina (ReneRusso) and Frank (Kevin Rahm). Nina is an aging news person who really relies on the sensationalism to keep her job. Frank is there as a moral or ethical compass. The film uses him to show how far out of the desperation is to drive ratings and at what cost those ratings come.
Sometimes when a writer directs their own film, the movie suffers. This film is an exception. Most of writer/director Dan Gilroy's experience is in writing but this film is an excellent movie to start off a great future in the director’s chair.
This movie can be fit into the category of news drama and joins movies like Network or Natural Born Killers. All of them speak to the evils of sensationalistic news but this one does it in a new way that is more elegant than others in this category. Take a look at this film and get up close and personal to the car collision that is our network news.
What other movie character has made your skin crawl but you were unable to stop watching?