Very recently I went to see a special release of the movie Nightcrawler before it hits the UK Cinemas. And I sat there entranced for the two hours of the movie, looking at the screen, unable to take my eyes off.
The next day, a friend of mine asked me how I liked the movie – and without thinking too much I said:
“I hated it.”
I have stopped since and started thinking why I said that. I am never quick to judge a movie and this one had good acting, good story line and an ending with a twist. It’s the type of movie I would usually rate with a good or a great and spend days talking about it.
The story is about a self-made man, a guy who would go through fire to succeed, a truly ambitious guy who decides to take up filming accidents and possible scoops for the local TV news station.
Being told that “fires, crimes an attacks on rich white people performed by ethnic minorities” count better towards the TV news ratings, this guy steals a bike and buys a camera with it and a police radar and starts going through the motions of learning how to get a scoop and how to be the first guy on the scene.
Very soon he hires an assistant on an “intership” basis, meaning he would not like to pay him. He ends up paying him $30 a night as no-one would ever want to work for free.
When our guy talks, you would believe he’s the CEO of a massive company. He talks about staff reviews, he gives feedback on his employee’s performance, he invests his money in a better car, better radio, better quality camera while going to the best scoops in town.
When his competition gets the better of him, he goes to the guy’s house and sabotages his car, cutting of his breaks so that the guy ends up wrapped around a pole.
He has dinner with his TV contact and requests more money for his scoops and her to sleep with him as they are both professionals and busy people and he can’t go to dates and without his videos she would be in the ditch.
He gets a massive scoop – the first one at a murder where three people were killed by unknown assailants – and forces his way to a massive payout for the video and introduction and recognition of his “company” – “Video Production News”. He withholds information from the police with the two killers and sets up an encounter in a restaurant between them and the police so he can film it better.
He gets into the police chase and he’s driving so close to them he can film the bumpers of the police and the bad guy. When the police car rolls out of the race, he continues the pursuit, hot on his tail, until the other car flips over.
He sends his assistant in to film the dead hitman and when his assistant gets shot by the not-so-dead hitman, he films him as he lays there dying, whispering that he never should have demanded more money or taken his negotiation power away by threatening him with the police.
The story ends as the TV station plays the recorded material, even though there is news that the murder story of a family in their homes by Spanish people was nothing more than a drug-related score-setting. He ends up with three more “interns” that believe in his company’s goals…
You see? The story is awesome. It has murder, betrayal, love and sex, cool police car chases, strong engines, a fast pace and good dialogue. Why oh why didn’t I like the movie. Why did I say I “hated” it? “Hate” is such a strong word. It’s primal.
I didn’t hate the movie. I hated the main character. I hated him how he did anything to be successful, even walking over dead bodies. I hated him – how he bent arms and killed people, how he blackmailed, how he enjoyed the sight of blood as he knew it was going to bring him money. I hated him as I saw how obsessed and amoral he was, no principles, no doubts. He was speaking sense but I had the feeling I was looking at a deranged person, a psychopath – way worse than the guy from The Guest.
And then I stopped to think – If I hated his character so much – does this mean that the actor (Jake Gyllenhaal) did a terrific job with acting him? The way that everybody hated Joffrey from Game of Thrones (he was such a “c&^nt”) because Jack Gleeson did such a fantastic job in portraying him? I have read the books and I don’t have such a disregard for the book version of Joffrey Baratheon as I had for the TV Series Joffrey Baratheon…
In this light, I must say I watched a great movie – to be able to access this feeling of hate and disgust from me – to be able to make me wish that justice would be served eventually, that karma will catch up with him as it does with every bad person. The sour taste that came after the movie was caused by the ending. He was free. He did not get caught, the police could not pin him for anything, not even the death he caused.
Is there no justice?
At the junkyard, asking for a job
Sir, excuse me, I’m looking for a job.
In fact, I’ve made up mind to find a career I can learn and grow into. Who am I? I’m a hard-worker, I set high goals and I’ve been told I’m persistent. Now I’m not fooling myself, sir. Having been raised with the self-esteem movement so popular in schools, I used to expect my needs to be considered. But I know that today’s work culture no longer caters to the job loyalty that could be promised to
earlier generations. What I believe, sir, is that good things come to those who work their asses off, and that people such as yourself who reach the top of the mountain didn’t just fall there. My motto is if you want to win the lottery you have to make the money to buy a
ticket. Did I say I worked in a garage? Sir, I think you and I could work well together. So how about it? I can start tomorrow or even why not tonight?
SCRAPYARD OWNER filling out a form … muttering ‘no’ …
How about an internship then? A lot of young people are taking unpaid positions to get a foot in the door. That’s something I’d be willing to do.
I’m not hiring a fucking thief.
Talking to the News editor, Nina
I liked how you handled Frank. You didn’t soften the truth or dilute it. I think being clear with your objectives is more important than trying to present ideas in a non-confrontational manner.
You have experience in an office?
Myself? Not presently, no.
So where’d you get all that?
I study a lot on-line.
Well, all sorts of things, actually. I’m on my computer all day. I haven’t had what you’d call much formal education but you can find most anything if you look hard enough. Last year I took an on-line business course, for example. I learned you have to have a business plan before starting a business, and that why you pursue something is as important as what you pursue. The site advised you to answer the following question before deciding where to focus your abilities.
The question was ‘What do I love to do?’
The site suggested making a list of my strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? And what are you not that good at? Maybe you want to strengthen and develop knowledge about the things you’re already good at. Or maybe you might want to strengthen your weaknesses. I
recently remade my list and I’m thinking now that television news might just be something that I love as well as something that I happen to be good at.
LOU stops at the large, high-def L.A. backdrop …
On tv it looks real.
Yes it does. Well, I have a show to do. Your check’s at the desk. Outstanding work, Lou. Really.
Thanks, Nina. That means an awful lot.