Nightcrawler ★★★★

A solid first directional effort for Dan Gilroy. He really captures Los Angeles well with solid cinematography- something I haven't seen since Michael Mann's "Collateral."

Equally strong are the performances- particularly Jake Gyllenhaal's sociopath/quick learner of Lou Bloom. He is a blend of those "self help" infomercials seen on late night television, blended with Patrick Bateman's American Psycho.

The gaunt and bulging eyes of Gyllenhaal recall a nocturnal lizard, slithering around in search of food every night. This movie should be seen just for this performance as it is Oscar-worthy.

Rene Russo was also quite strong as Channel 6's local TV producer Nina. Her relationship with Lou is complex in purchasing grisly video footage. It's also an interesting commentary on career trajectory and the choices one makes to retain power in a tough industry.

Bill Paxton & Riz Ahmed also add strong performances to Lou's competition and wing man in pursuing police scanner reports.

The final set piece, a little paint by numbers in its calculating payoff, is still tense and well edited for a satisfying conclusion. This is a small movie with big ideas on the "get ahead" tactics rewarded in American capitalism today- with an excellent performance by Gyllenhaal. See it!