Saturday, 1 November 2014
Los Angeles Crimes.
117 Minutes. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed & Bill Paxton. Director: Dan Gilroy.
Never in your 'Worlds Wildest Police Chases' could you imagine this! Even Sherriff John Bunnell has never seen anything this crazy! After seemingly been followed by stringers himself with 'Fury's' David Ayer and Michael Pena for the engrossing and evoking 'End Of Watch' as the LAPD, Jake Gyllenhaal is now tracking the sound of the blue and whites himself, in Oscar competition with his old friends. Ready for his Academy close-up, Gyllenhaal is the 'Nightcrawler'. X-Men fans rejoice at this 'First Class' performance. But don't get too excited about this marvellous movie role. This Halloween season Jake isn't painted in indigo, with yellow eyes and nails climbing up walls. But slimmed down to a gaunt, McConaughey Oscar 'Buyers Club' weight, this Hollywood heartthrob is seemingly teleporting across the Californian coast of Los Angeles neons, responding to major crimes and emergencies with his camcorder and selling his found footage to the highest news anchor bidder. Following a 'Source Code' matrix revolution of an acting future with his new meal-less method of acting this 'Nightcrawler' reaches DiCaprio hills territory, after almost unlocking the gold last year with Wolverine, Hugh Jackman for 'Prisoners'. Arguably 2013's best movie between 'The Place Beyond The Pines' and of course '12 Years A Slave'. Now in a 'Drive' classic thunderbird ride that fellow actor of type, Ryan Gosling would be jealous of and responding to a 'Collateral' of L.A. Times action, this Dan Gilroy picture takes inspirational cues from both of those Angelino classics. All whilst itself serving as a blood red, lipstick stained love letter to Los Angeles.
Aspiring cinematographers everywhere better not miss the opening credit montage whilst buying popcorn for their girlfriends. Because all the screensavers, postcards and travel guides couldn't capture the lonely look of a smog soaked Los Angeles in all its brittle beauty quite like this. In a mere cast-roll few seconds Gilroy confirms himself as a great and his direction across the rest of this City of Angels and devils picture portrait is formidably flawless and a rival to the 'Collateral', 'Drive' ruling crown. Still from the mansions on the hills to the skyline everything here is less than Jake. If you thought he was on the form of his life already since 'Love and Other Drugs' then wait until your heart beats to this performance of sinister substance. Creepily crawling around with a camera zoomed into blood and guts this is not a Halloween horror film...but it may as well be. Gyllenhaal is straight new 'American Psycho' scary, falling down like you've never seen him before. As darkly drawn out in his performance as his look, complete with a sinister streak of hair pulled back round his police scanner, pricked up ears at times he almost looks like his 'Brokeback' friend Heath Ledger's Joker. We now know who could do the honour of carrying the Batman mantle for his late, great companion. From shaking the morning mirror in the bathroom a little more crazily than we would all like to on our darkest day this is a raw reflection of inner demons setting freak-show free. A moment where alone in his apartment he laughs at the T.V. like he's watching it with someone epitomizes his loneliness and craziness. Armed with some seemingly sarcastic sayings that his character crackpot believe are as sane and straight as himself and issuing madcap manipulating threats like they where chocolate or ice cream choices, Jake has never been this horrendously horrible. Yet you can't help bit be drawn into his cruel charm and callous charisma for what is an amazingly loveable performance of the most abhorrent, unlikable man. Now that truly takes some doing...and no one does it better than Jake!
Behind the lens, Gyllenhaal isn't the only focus in this feature. Zoom into rookie partner in documenting crime Riz Ahmed and you have a new talent developing before our time at a shutter speed rate. There's also some veterans that have been on screen for decades bringing new developments to this bold broadcast. Rene Russo may have been moonlighting as mother of 'Thor' for a while now but in this L.A. noir dark world she illuminates like downtown. She hasn't looked this good in Los Angeles since she came downstairs wearing nothing but an oversized Lakers t-shirt in 'Get Shorty'. Gyllenhaal was obviously watching. Everyone's looking at Bill Paxton now too. Following his '2 Guns' hallmark bad guy rejuvenation, he's made a great, grand return. Just like in this years Tom Cruise 'Edge Of Tomorrow' where he drilled home his Sargent role with acclaimed authority. Here he ties everything together in a frayed bow as a veteran stringer. Every great cast deserves a powerful premise and this one delivers all the way to the jigsaw put together set pieces that are as full horsepower, turbo, throttle, car chase, bullet shot exciting as anything you've ever witnessed on screen, Hollywood or newsreel real. Your looking at an Oscar candidate film of the year on this report. If last years fall campaign for the Oscars was all about the inspiring struggle for survival from '12 Years' and 'Captain Phillips' to 'Gravity', this year is a dark depth and turn different. Last year was about real heroes. This year is about crazy psychos. There's even a police station exit homage to Keyser Sose that walks the walk for all you 'Usual Suspects'. From 'Gone Girl', to 'Serena' and even the 'Fury' of war, only Robert Downey Jnr's 'Judge' or an 'Interstellar' McConaughey can save us all from this brilliant bleakness. Still this years skinny on 'Best Actor' looks to belong to the weight of Gyllenhaal's performance. Come Oscar night he'll be crawling underneath everybody's skin. TIM DAVID HARVEY