Posts Tagged ‘ Jake Gyllenhaal ’

Nightcrawler

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Nightcrawler
Release date: November 7, 2014 (India)
Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Cast:

Night crawler (noun) [North American]

  • 1. an earthworm that comes to the surface at night and is used as fishing bait.
  • 2. informal
    a person who is socially active at night.
    “the bar and nightclub are hot items with chic night crawlers”

 

Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler is also a worm like figure that comes to the surface at night, except he isn’t the bait. The titular creature here is Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in his rusty car.

Bloom is an unemployed loner who makes his living off stealing, but wants to ‘create a career’ and starts looking for jobs. On his way back home, he comes across a road accident and sees two independent cameramen record the footage. He begins chasing them and has a new inspiration to live. He learns by shadowing other freelancers and soon his camera never stops rolling, just like his eyes never blink.

He lands a deal with Nina (Rene Russo) at a news channel with low ratings; Nina tells him that her channel is like a screaming woman running down the street with her head cut. She mouths words into her anchors’ ears, totally in control of her sensationalist news coverage. Louis becomes incessantly ruthless with his competition and manipulates the crime scenes into picture perfect news materials.

His urge to succeed, while belting out management jargon learned over his hours of study of the internet puts him in positions where he willingly lets go of his integrity, or even humanity. Nina pushes him further, cutting out resistance from her own juniors. Louis is a sociopath, and we don’t know why. His conversations with his assistant, are a cracker and even his incredibly creepy proposal to Nina sounds hilarious, once you’re in the Louis-zone.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in his reduced frame with his already gaping eyes is the impeccable embodiment of a slimy footage collector, who keeps shooting no matter what happens. His character could very well be a metaphor for the modern news outlets which keep recording, be it a shooting or a public sexual offense, and just aim at selling it as a piece of story for ratings. The impassionate performances of Riz Ahmed as Rick, the clueless young intern under Bloom and Rene Russo as the vulnerable news director further elevate Gyllenhaal’s presence.

Nightcrawler with its graphic description of the excesses of the media isn’t a thorough commentary, nor it is a lesson in profound character study; even though the film is expansively only character-driven. The shocks in the plot are cold-blooded, yet not surprising. You never get to know how vain exactly the protagonist is, as there aren’t any moments where his intentions or ideas are manifested, except in the situations the screenplay creates. The film limits itself at just that, like the news on TV, it chills you but doesn’t tug at you with a stronger gravitational pull.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Prisoners

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Prisoners
Release date: September 27, 2013 (India)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Erin Gerasimovich, Kyla Drew Simmons, Zoe Borde, Dylan Minnette, David Dastmalchian

On the day of Thanksgiving, the Dover family heads over to the Birch house for their traditional turkey. The Birch kids, Eliza (Zoe Borde) and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) take the visiting Dover kids out around.  Anna Dover (Erin Gerasimovich) and Joy start playing near a creepy RV, the older siblings pull them back into the house and suddenly Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) asks them to stay away from the basement (?)

The basic plot or the conflict surfaces within the first 25 minutes of this 150 minute long film. The two small girls, Anna and Joy disappear. Everyone starts looking for them and the creepy RV is nowhere to be seen anymore. Agent Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) has the cliche “never left a case unsolved” tag to him and he’s the assigned detective for these suspected kidnappings. He has a constant twitch, he has a neck tattoo and another on his arm and that’s why wears full-sleeved shirts with the collar button firmly in place.

The characters here develop according to the space provided to them by the narrative. Jackman’s Keller Dover is a grim carpenter who’s into hearing religious sermons whenever he can. His character’s wife Grace (Maria Bello) undergoes a paradigm shift in her personality when Anna remains untraceable. She talks of an unknown promise made to her by Keller and his rage mode aggravates. The story’s suspense of who-is-the-kidnapper or who-is-the-child-killer is interesting, but the use of other distracting potential suspects is unfounded at times.

Bob Taylor (David Dastmalchian), Father Patrick Dunn (Len Cariou), Holly Jones (Melissa Leo) and Alex Jones (Paul Dano) all fall into the bracket of possible links to lead to the solution of the case, and all except one flounder due to the writing. Even the eventual discovery of the abductor has no strong point in its balance for the reasoning behind all the continued crimes of the same pattern. To make people lose their faith– as the master conspirator confesses, faith as a whole quality is only restricted to Keller Dover and no one else. And how does he/she know that the victim’s parents believe in religion. Who knows, we have atheist parents too!

Prisoners purely succeeds from Gyllenhaal’s remarkable performance and Paul Dano’s puzzling act. The camera remains placed behind a wall at many times, often a separating line between the characters present to represent the difference. It gets repetitive after a while. Also, you get a good focused pure closeup of a tree trunk for a meaty 8 seconds. There’s a lot here, but the result is a tad disappointing.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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