Nightcrawler Blu-ray Review
"I’d like to think if you’re seeing me, you’re having the worst day of your life."
Nightcrawler Film Review
Writer Dan Gilroy’s makes a bravado directorial debut and star Jake Gyllenhaal offers up a career-defining performance with this intense and intoxicating portrait of driven sociopathic intent.Crawling the LA streets at night, we follow the amoral animal, Lou Bloom, as he forges his way through life, looking for direction. Finding himself drawn to the dark and violent world of crime reporting, he takes to the challenging career-path with panache, and sets his sights on being the best crime reporter in the City. At all costs. There’s nothing whole or decent about Gilroy’s exploration of this career-driven sociopath, but it is nonetheless utterly enthralling. You just can’t take your eyes away from the screen as Gyllenhaal simply becomes the scary creature that is Lou Bloom – a man who sounds like he is charming you with mere words, yet his every syllable carries with it the weight of some unspoken violent intent. His freaky insomniac eyes will lock you in their sights, with his eyeballs almost popping out of his slick lizard skull.It’s a masterful character study, set within a little-explored world of mania and drive which knows no boundaries – you find yourself almost admiring Bloom’s clinical, well-planned attack on the crime reporting scene; he’s like a shark: scary and brutal but nonetheless a perfect predator. If we lived in a world where morals and humanity were not a requirement for societal existence, then survival of the fittest would see him crowned King. He sees his goal, and he sees the steps to get to it, and then he takes them. And petty things like human conscience are trivial irrelevances. Nightcrawler’s complete ambivalence towards morality – as if it’s something that merely holds us back – is at times reminiscent of Christian Bale’s American Psycho, only without the same biting humour. It’s bleak and dark, and intense and frenzied. And unmissable.
Blu-ray Picture QualityNightcrawler hits UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with an excellent 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Despite it being an almost entirely night-set feature, black levels remain superior throughout, with but the tiniest hint of blocking which will barely register on most viewers’ radars. The rest of the presentation is outstanding, affording superb detail through excellent close-ups, solid mid-range shots and some wonderfully-framed wider shots, which are a tribute to the work of cinematographer Robert Elswit.
This UK release offers up excellent video which brings the night to life as you crawl right through it.
There’s no softness to the piece, with a grainy feel that still allows the beauty to shine through beneath. The colour scheme is neon-drenched but naturalistic, with skin tones healthy and vibrant, but for perhaps Gyllenhaal, whose pallor takes on a suitably sickly lizard yellow-green. Standout is the Dodge Challenger, reminiscent of the red Chevy Chevelle in Jack Reacher as it roars around the city in all its glory. With no defects, no digital anomalies, and nothing to distract you from enjoying this piece, it’s a great video presentation.
Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is outstanding, and even more impressive than the video counterpart. Nightcrawler’s minimalist score is still perfect for the feature, and strikes up a wonderfully dark atmosphere through some excellent electro-based throwback tones, which brood up from beneath whilst the rest of the track is at play.
With its electric energy, and dark and tense sequences of calculated frenzy, the audio track takes you right to the scene of the crime, even while it’s still happening.
Whilst the dialogue is well-prioritised over the fronts and centre channels – remaining clear and coherent throughout, even, itself dipping into frenzy as Gyllenhaal whispers with simmering rage – it’s the effects flourishes that ignite, as crime scenes come to vibrant siren-blaring life, and the trips to the crime scenes hit home with ambulance-chasing fury. From the roar of the Challenger to the screech of tyres, to the thunder of gunshots and shouting and screaming of cops and bystanders alike – it’s all clinically disseminated across the array with precision and punch. An outstanding track, Nightcrawler is demo material through and through.
Blu-ray ExtrasThe brothers Gilroy team up to do a Commentary which is almost as energetic as the film, as Writer/Director Dan Gilroy, Producer Tony Gilroy, and Editor John Gilroy compare notes on the final product, reminisce on the production and offer up interesting anecdotal titbits and background info in equal parts. There’s also a short Behind the Scenes Featurette, as well as some Preview Trailers to round off the disc. It's a shame there's no deleted footage - the Trailer reveals a fair amount - but, then again, it would be nice to think that the Trailer was tailor-made that way, with repetitions of the key "lottery" line reflective of the work, but not directly taken from it.
Nightcrawler Blu-ray VerdictIt’s a shock that Gyllenhaal was snubbed for the Best Actor Oscar – not even a nomination for what must be the performance of his career, thus far. At least Gilroy got something for his screenplay, although the film deserved more: the whole production is a scary-perfect animal; a thrilling journey into the horrors of crime reporting, channelled through the amoral vision of Gyllenhaal’s sociopathic shark. You’ve never seen anything quite like it.
His job is to wait for car crashes to happen, yet he is a car crash waiting to happen.
Nightcrawler hits UK shores complete with an excellent Region B-locked package available both in standard amaray and in highly recommended HMV / EOne Steelbook packaging with some superb artwork and embossing that is perfectly at one with the subject-matter. Whatever package you chose to pick up, you should see this movie. Even though nobody is going to convince you that this is going to be a pleasant watch, it is a must-see feature nonetheless. Highly recommended.
You can buy Nightcrawler on Blu-ray here
You can buy the UK Exclusive Nightcrawler Steelbook Blu-ray here
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