Hello and welcome to another edition of “Chilton’s Soapbox”. I was originally going to talk about the movies I saw this year, but I want to talk about one film in particular: Nightcrawler.
This is a film that claims to be an edgy satire on crime journalism. Here, a man (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) creates a video news service after coming up on another film crew. As the film progresses, his decisions get more and more questionable and he might just go too far. Now, allow me to offer this as a rebuttal to this short synopsis:
Where exactlyÂ does the line between satire and glorification lie? And does this film even establish said line? If you were to ask me, my answer would be a resounding…
No, it really doesn’t. In fact, this film seems to glorify certain acts more than satirizing corrupt journalism. See, Gyllenhaal’s character is one of the most despicable “protagonists” in any film that I’ve seen. This is a guy who badgers people to get a job, constantly puts his accomplices at risk for the sake of getting gruesome footage and only gruesome footage, breaks into houses, tampers with crime scenes, edits criminals out of his footage only to catch up with them and literally create a crime scene, and manipulates the people who work with him, and we’re supposed to sympathize with him? In fact, even when a detective finds him out, we never see him get arrested. He never gets any kind of comeuppance for anything he does.
The point of satire is to show how something can be improved. But this film doesn’t do that. Instead, the message they give is, essentially, “if you want to be the best at something, step on those who oppose you, and no repercussions will come out of it”. And that’s not how life works. Yes, putting a hundred percent into something is a good thing. And sometimes, you have to do whatever it takes to get to the top. But letting someone who trusts you die so that you can get a paycheck is beyond insulting, especially if the film you’re in expects the audience to root for you.
This film is to me what The Incredibles is to Moviefan12–an overrated film where everyone involved squandered its potential. Except I can respect Mr. Incredible way more than Gyllenhall because, like I said in another blog, Mr. Incredible actually realizes his mistakes and tries to fix them.Â Crap, even Gerard Butler gets some kind of punishment in Law Abiding Citizen! This isÂ the only film where I almost walked out of the theater and would have if I wasn’t with friends at the time. The fact that has a “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes is astonishing. I’ll definitely talk more about this movie on Cinemania, and trust me, that review won’t be pretty.