Juliet Kidd’s first piece for The Substantive looks at the film Nightcrawler.

Director Dan Gilroy has taken all the bits of LA we never see and simply turned the lights off, creating a further sense of disorientation that mimics the personality of Lou Bloom.

Lou is a loner in his late 30s. His appearance is thin, beige and greasy and there’s an odd intensity about his personality. We see him easily inspired by freelance cameraman taking footage of a bloodied car crash and thats where his obsession starts.

Whilst police and emergency crew rush in to save the victims, Lou is focused on achieving the right frame to capture the most pain and violence. Theres no human empathy within this character which gives him the sense of a serial killer without actually killing anyone. At one point in the film a police detective accuses him of murder. She’s our voice, unable to fully catogorise him as he walks away without charge. His character captures many of the conventions of a serial killer but he’s like Norman Bates without a knife.

Aside from the violence the film provides some thrilling car action which takes us to the next level of carnage. Each car chase accelerates the footage Lou achieves which rises his reputation and fees from the News Network.

Nightcrawler takes the lens off the dark side of the media. What lengths will the media go to in order to get a good lead? Rely on an obsessive psychopath maybe? Lou’s character belongs there and they need him as much as he needs them. An unhealthy relationship which becomes controlling, aggressive and sinister and in the end bitterly successful.

Juliet Kidd

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