Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton
Director: Dan Gilroy
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Running time: 117 minutes
Now showing at: Century Cinemax, Acacia Mall, Kisementi
Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) has survived the LA streets on his wits. As a thief, he is always looking for a good way to make money. So when he chances upon a freelance TV crew at a car accident site, his idea light goes on. The accident is a burning car with a woman in it. While any humane person would come to this woman’s aid, the crew’s biggest problem is the best angle from which to capture her face, blood and all.
Bloom soon understands the crew’s motives. They plan to sell the footage to a newsroom, and from what they say, it will bring in a lot of money.
Bloom is soon a one-man crew, out on the hunt for the ultimate bad news, the kind that takes place especially at night, but also the kind that is “good” news in a newsroom. This is the kind of news Nina Romina (Rene Russo) is looking for to boost her station’s ratings so Bloom finds a ready-buyer for his footage in her. Soon, he can even afford a nerdy assistant, Rick Carey (Ahmed).
Before you rant about this being a spoiler, this movie is less about its plot and more about how it is executed. It is done in a way that will make you feel uncomfortable with yourself, and how you react to the news on radio, TV, and even the newspaper, but especially on TV.
Somehow, it is the gory stories that get you watching the news, right? That night robbery where a family is maimed; the accident that claims scores of people, and the like. It also satirises the lengths media go through to reel in the numbers, albeit with dark humour.
Gyllenhaal is every bit the star of the movie. He takes on this cynical, inhumane role and becomes it, as he does with most of his roles. He even lost weight for this role.
The glint in his eye when he justifies his actions with quotes you would read in a self-help book, will make you pause because he actually believes in what he is doing.
Beware though, the beginning is a little slow, and you might be tempted to dismiss the movie altogether. Don’t. It will soon crawl under your skin.