These days, you have to make your teaser trailers highly inventive in order to have the slightest chance of standing out from the ever-increasing crowd. With what seems to be every movie in production releasing half a dozen previews before release, these snippets are becoming an artform in themselves – striving to make an impact in a flooded market. Thankfully, the first teaser for Nightcrawler does just that.
The crime drama is written by Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy), who also makes his directorial debut. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a young man stumbling upon the realm of LA freelance crime journalism, and co-stars Rene Russo and Bill Paxton. The project is already gathering momentum ahead of its October 17 release date, with many expecting an early screening at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September this year.
So, what of this initial teaser trailer that has quietly appeared online in the guise of an appeal for employment? First of all – and most strikingly – Gyllenhaal has transformed himself into a gaunt, edgy, slightly disturbing man, who is clearly walking the fine line between being contained, and boiling over. The format of the piece is a mixture of this man addressing the camera directly, along with clips of his interactions with people in the film. The end result is fascinating. It immediately generates a sense of uneasy connection with this man, with the same awkwardness as when you are confronted, and directly addressed, by a complete stranger in the street.
The effect of the teaser is the same – it has cut around convention, and is appealing to you directly, just as this character is doing so in his application for employment. Eschewing the normal channels – in his case, application forms and phone calls, and in the filmmakers case, soft-sell and cajoling – this teaser, and its main character cuts to the chase, while holding all the important information back. Who is this guy, and what exactly is he looking to achieve?
There’s only one way to know – keep an eye out for Nightcrawler.