There are few characters that show little (or no) empathy for their fellow man. Even Hannibal Lector had a heart, albeit demented. Lou Bloom (played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhaal) in Night Crawler is another. In fact half way through the movie you begin to wonder if Bloom is missing not part, but all of that portion of the human brain that makes one feel for a fellow human. He comes across as calm and polite, but is really ruthless and psychotic. The story line is that Bloom is minor criminal looking for legitimate work. He stumbles upon a job as an independent photo journalist. And once he starts, nothing or no one will stop him from getting the story. He gets so involves he becomes part of the crime to get the story.
I cannot imagine the role being played by anyone any better than it is by Gyllenhaal. Rick Garcia does an excellent job playing his young side kick (also named Rick Garcia) who, unlike Bloom, has a conscious but finds himself involved in more than he signed up for. But after that the casting falters. One of the other main characters, the news director of the TV station Nina is played by Rene Russo. In my humble opinion this was one of the weak spots in the film. This was a role of a professional woman forced to make a decision over her dignity or her career. Had a different actor played the role I think it would have improved the film.
All that said, that may not have saved the film. Night Crawler crawls. The story is interesting. Bloom's character is engaging. But I kept waiting for more, for a twist that never came, for a revelation that changed the story, for the ah ha moment. As we sped (literally) through the movie, chased the story, viewed blood and gore, witnessed shoot outs, and car crashes, I tired of the action and the drama and yearned for more story.
The film had so much potential. It got rave reviews. After hearing the hype, I went in excited and anticipating a good movie. I came out tired and questioning what I missed. If there is a sequel, and the end left plenty of room for one, I'll save my $10.50. So close but no banana.