By all accounts, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in Nightcrawler is a game-changer. Starring as Lou Bloom, a freelancer who descends into the dark and bloody world of L.A. crime journalism, he becomes a “nightcrawler,” part of a group of camera newsmen who troll the night, searching for accidents, murders, and fires to film and feed to the violence-hungry public. Rene Russo co-stars as a veteran of the “blood sport” who helps Bloom on his way. Their first meeting is the subject of a new clip from the film, and while it does not give us much to go on by way of plot, there’s certainly already a palpable tension between the two.
One of the more striking things about Nightcrawler is Gyllenhaal’s gaunt appearance; the actor dropped 20 pounds for the part, and it shows. Here’s what he told Variety about his weight loss:
I would try to eat as few calories as possible. I knew if I was hungry that I was in the right spot. Physically, it showed itself, but chemically and mentally, I think it was even a more fascinating journey. It became a struggle for me.
He definitely looks hungry, though that in itself does not a great performance make. Method acting is only as good as the actor who practices the Method. I’ll be more interested in seeing what he does with that hunger in character than in his reasons for starving himself.
When you come down to it, everything bodes well for Nightcrawler. The director Dan Gilroy might be a newbie, but the actors are veteran performers, including the always-welcome Bill Paxton. The story sounds fascinating if done properly and based on the clips and trailers we have seen so far, this is going to be a tension-filled movie that should easily garner some awards attention.
Nightcrawler premieres just in time for Halloween, on October 31. In addition to the clip, you can check out the latest TV spot and quite a number of images from the film below.
Are you ready to descend into this netherworld?