Desperate, all round creepy dude Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) gives up a life of petty theft to become a freelance news camera man, providing (and sometimes creating) video footage of gruesome crimes and accidents to a network news company with an amoral director (Renne Russo)
This movie has been rated R – mainly because the main character is so creepy and has a ridiculous pony tail. Seriously, your kids should not know that people like this exist
Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a creepy, thief with little to no moral values, no job, or seemingly life to speak of. After encountering a bloody car crash on a night time drive, he discovers that television news channels will pay good money for footage of rich white people all messed up at the side of the road – along with other gruesome crimes affecting middle class and upwards. Louis’ talents (apathy and general scumbaggery) seem perfectly suited to his new role as a paparazzo for the dead and bloody, allowing him to get more gruesome and bloody shots than his competitors (who seem like stand up guys by comparison) are not willing to get.
In news director Nina (Russo), he finds a destination for his gorey footage and an equal lack of respect for the victims involved. Their intense and sometimes frightening relationship is countered by Nina’s colleague Frank (Kevin Rahm) who disapproves of the nature of the videos being shown but lacks the authority to intervene.
Accompanied by his new intern, Rick (Riz Ahmed), Bloom quickly makes a name for himself (along with a pile of cash and a shiny Mustang) and it is not long before he shows the depth of his character and how dangerous he can really be
- Gyllenhaal is excellent – a combination of sociopath and slick 80’s business man
- The exchanges between Gyllenhaal and Ahmed while driving provide some much needed humour to lighten the mood (a little)
- Gives a sliver of insight (probably accurate) into the world of network news coverage
- Very little back story to characters, could have elaborated on Lou/Nina’s past as to what made them so apathetic and desensitized towards the content of their stories
The creepiness of the main character is at a level normally reserved for Fortune 500 company owners and maths teachers. It’s very hard to connect with or feel sympathy for him – if you do you should probably seek professional help. That said, it is fascinating to watch and the tension at points will have you on the edge of your seat. You may wait for the characters redeeming features to come shining through towards the end but don’t bother, there aren’t any. All in all a good watch that’ll leave you feeling a little uneasy inside. 7.5/10