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Friday, November 28, 2014

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler (warning: autoplay), starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis (pronounced Lewis) Bloom

Right off you can tell there is something wrong with Lou: he's stealing manhole covers to raise cash. Copper, bronze, lead and even aluminum I can understand. Those metals are actually worth something, but manhole covers are cast iron which has got to have a value of less than zero. I mean it takes more gas to haul them to the scrap yard than they are worth. That's why cities can leave them lying around on the street. Nobody in their right mind is going to bother stealing them.
    And he's glib. He can run off a line of patter as well as the best corporate spokesperson or a good motivational speaker. He's obviously smart, is able to communicate well, yet he's using the same technique for raising funds that crack addicts use.
   He's also attracted to shiny things, like the security guard's watch, and the shiny red car (read Chrysler Corporation product placement, above). Once he gets going in his new (nightcrawling) business he's making a couple hundred dollars a night, which is not really enough to afford a shiny new muscle car, but hey, every adolescent male has that dream, don't they? Who am I kidding? Even I have that dream, although I'm too cheap to do anything about it.
    The movie does a good job of taking apart our TV news business, which includes both the cutthroat culture and teamwork involved. People want to see stuff (that's the demand), other people find things to show (that's the supply), and somebody else figured out how to make it pay. And then there's the whole tech crew that puts it all together to deliver the package to your screen. I can see how just putting together a single news broadcast could give you a quick ego boost. The sad part is viewers won't even notice, unless you screw up.
    Jake is a very unpleasant person. It's hard to explain just what is wrong with him, but the feeling is there from the get-go. He is polite and well spoken. Perhaps too polite and too well spoken, like maybe he's a con-man trying to sell you a bridge. He is persistent, perhaps a little too persistent. Sometimes I expected someone to yell at him or punch him, but that never happens. Kind of makes me wonder how he got to be this way. Kind of, but not very much.
    Then there's the bit about tailing the bad guys with his bright red car. Are the bad guys dunderheads? Didn't they see the bright red car earlier? Could be that high stress impaired their perception, or a feeling of elation made them careless. We'll never know, they are out of the picture soon enough.

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