If things ended differently for Travis Bickle and his unrequited love, Betsy, their son would’ve turned out like Lou Bloom. Lou would’ve grown up knowing that in life, no one gives you anything. If you want something, you have to work for it. If you work hard enough, and still nothing happens, then you take what is rightfully yours.
That’s the Lou Bloom we meet in Dan Gilroy’s devilishly entertaining new film, Nightcrawler. Lou, as inhabited by a ferocious and fearless Jake Gyllenhaal, is a smart, wildly articulate, slender beast of a man who spends his nights roaming the bloodstained streets of Los Angeles. After failing to find purpose (which we assume is something he’s failed to find for a long time), Lou discovers a freelance profession of filming crime scenes and selling the footage to the highest network bidder. Nightcrawlers, as these people are known, cruise L.A. all night, stalking police scanners in hopes of being the first one on the scene with cameras rolling.