**1/2 out of ****
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a strong performance as the lead in the media satire Nightcrawler, but the movie itself isn’t on par with its lead actor.
Writer/director Dan Gilroy’s film tells the story of a creepy sociopath (Gyllenhaal) who makes a name for himself as a freelance cameraman at crime scenes and accidents. The media criticism here is nothing new; it’s been covered before in Network, Broadcast News, and other films. When Gyllenhaal reveals how far he’s willing to go to get a story, it’s supposed to be shocking, but it’s not.
What you’re left with is a character study of a completely loathsome man at the service of an obvious sermon about the state of modern news. Gyllenhaal’s performance is genuinely unnerving, but the episodic plot fails to come together as a whole.