2014, Dan Gilroy (writer Real Steel, Freejack) -- Netflix
I just finished a rewatch of The Day After Tomorrow; from my collection, but no, not garnering a ReWatch post -- not yet. The movie is dated, and not just because of the use of really old cell phone technology, but because of a baby faced Jake Gyllenhaal. That was 11 years ago, when he could still play a high school kid. In Nightcrawler he still has a sense of youth about him, but there is no fresh faced kid in this; this kid grew up into quite the creepy character.
Louis Bloom is another example in a recent string of characters barely surviving in society, definitely awkward but more sinister than Sheldon Cooper endearing. The movie begins with him stealing from a construction site, only to pummel the guard who catches him -- he likes his watch. With metal in hand, he sells it to a scrap yard and has the gall to ask the owner for a job. He doesn't understand why he wouldn't hire a thief. On his return home, he happens across a crash and is exposed to the stringer cameramen, who wander the nights of LA, capturing & selling bloody footage for the TV news. Bloom is inspired.
The key point of his introduction is to make us aware that Bloom is intelligent, very very eager and lacking a certain ... something. Emotional quotient perhaps? That he is in his thirties and not as accomplished as his research leads him to believe he should be says that he stumbles over every interaction, that his belief in how to do something outweighs the social cues he should pay attention to. Until now. This time he discovers an affinity for horrific news footage and makes the right (struggling) connection at the right (struggling) station.
And yeah, he's a blooming sociopath who has found his calling.
Gyllenhaal really sells it as Bloom. Skinnied down, but without the "did he lose weight?" that I ask of almost every Hollywood actor these days, in these days of never-too-skinny. Bloom would be rakishly thin, never eating well, not really knowing he has to, as he moves from one obsession to another. High IQ and low EQ has him gaining knowledge quickly, applying simple social interactions from theory but not getting any real connection with anyone. He really is scary.
Of course, as we know news is cut throat, we know things have to escalate -- one more body, one more death, one more gorey shot. Bloom succeeds wildly, making money and a reputation but has to escalate to maintain it. The consequences are unsettling.
Renee Russo is the news producer desperate to make ratings and accepts Bloom's amateurish but shocking vid. She becomes his conspirator in ever escalating shots, as he wants respect & money and she just needs the ratings to keep her job. She is the aging producer, and I was glad Gilroy had her play to her age, lines and all. In the right lighting and makeup, everyone seems ageless and defiant Nina the producer appeared weighed down by it all.
This is not a movie with a definite ending nor climax, just an escalation to a resolution. We can be shocked at how things sum up or we can look to the coverage of the latest shootings and not be surprised at all.
Every sociopath has his place I guess.