On the face of it, 2014 has been a rather strange year for film, a step down from an annum of classics and simultaneously a slalom dodge into the realms of adventure and discord. Here I take a look at five movies and the four lessons they taught us in 2014, for better or for worse.
Dan Gilroy’s latest, Nightcrawler, has a lot on its troubled mind. It intertwines our national obsessions with voyeurism and stardom into a sociopathic nightmare from which you can’t awaken. At its churning center is the mesmerizing performance of Jake Gyllenhaal, who charms you with his infectious intensity, even as he ruthlessly manipulates everyone and everything around him. As the blood flows and the crimes accumulate, Gilroy traps us behind the camera as his passive accomplices. Welcome to the world of the Nightcrawler. Showering after you leave is highly recommended.
Nightcrawler, the directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy, has a strong kinship with Sidney Lumet’s Network. Both take a satirical view of broadcast journalism, portraying the profession as a cold-blooded environment where sensationalism takes center stage. If there is one difference that separates the newer film from its 1976 predecessor, though, it is that the former possesses none of the latter’s biting wit. Nightcrawler is incredibly heavy-handed with its message, and the satirical dialogue is far from profound.