Nightcrawler Blu-ray review

Killer media thriller gives audiences one of contemporary cinema's creepiest heroes

Inspired by a freelance TV crew he encounters at the scene of a traffic accident, small-time criminal Louis 'Lou' Bloom (a shockingly gaunt Jake Gyllenhaal) decides that his future lies in a new line of work. Equipping himself with a camera and police scanner, and prowling the nocturnal streets of L.A., Lou demonstrates a natural talent when it comes to getting hold of the most sensationalist footage imaginable. But just how far is he willing to go to stay on top of the competition?

As a media satire it's true that Nightcrawler doesn't really say anything you won't have heard before when it comes to sticking the knife into modern journalistic ethics ('If it bleeds, it leads' is the mantra in the film's TV newsrooms). However, that shouldn't take anything away from the fascinating character study that writer-director Dan Gilroy crafts.

Rather than taking the easy step of turning Lou into an out-and-out sociopath, Gilroy's film presents him as nothing worse than the embodiment of the American entrepreneur. Admittedly, his methods are unusual and he doesn't exactly stick to the letter of the law, but Lou simply wants to succeed in today's ultra-competitive job market. As Lou himself says: 'Who am I? I'm a hard worker. I set high goals and I've been told that I'm persistent.'

Perhaps the closest point of comparison is Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese's underrated The King of Comedy – only here the character is immersed in the sort of pulse-pounding thriller narrative that ensures Nightcrawler will have no difficulty finding an appreciative audience.

Picture: Packed full of blacks deep enough to lose yourself in and painted with garish neon primaries, Nightcrawler's AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode does a spectacular job of placing you on the night-time streets of Los Angeles. While the bulk of the film was shot at night, colours are brilliantly saturated and details aren't lost amidst the gloom. Indeed, the only technical flaws you'll find are the intentional ones in Lou's home-brewed footage.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio is wonderfully immersive. From the sound of TV news chatter swelling around you at the start of Chapter 5 to the roars of Chapter 14's car chase, the mix makes great use of the surround, while Chapter 9's fast-food joint shootout demonstrates a wide L/C/R spread. A fine accompaniment to the platter's immaculate HD visuals.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Just a fascinating chat-track from the director, producer and editor, and a very brief promo featurette. A film this good deserves so much more!
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: Ignore the lack of extras and simply savour the superb AV afforded to this modern classic on BD

Nightcrawler, EntertainmentOne, Region B Blu-ray, £25 Approx