Nightcrawler, set in LA, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal

‘Nightcrawler’ Ties ‘Oiuja’ For Halloween Weekend Winner

As of Sunday night, it was too close to call whether or not Nightcrawler, the Dan Gilroy-directed thriller that released this weekend after critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival, had managed to knock Ouija from it’s #1 spot last week. With most major studios avoiding Halloween weekend as a poor time to release a new film, Nightcrawler mostly had the landscape to itself.

The $10.9 million debut was considered strong by the New York Daily News, considering that the R-rated LA film was low-budget, and has what many have called a creepy and unconventional protagonist. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, an ambulance chaser who shoots gory video of accidents and disasters which he then sells to the local TV networks. The Boston Globe called Bloom a motivated sociopath.

Many reviewers have commented on this as a departure for Gyllenhaal, who often plays more likable characters (Brokeback Mountain, End of Watch, and Donnie Darko, for example).

Much has also been made of the nearly 30 pounds that Gyllenhaal lost to play the role. According to interviews he’s given, Gyllenhaal decided to lose the weight as he and Gilroy brainstormed around what the character should look like.

“Dan Gilroy and I talked a lot about the topography of Los Angeles being a real major character in the movie, if not the star of the movie, and anyone who’s spent any time in Southern California knows that the coyote is a staple of that environment. They’re savage and they’re extreme and they’re rude and cruel and they are hungry. And we thought, oh, Lou is a coyote.”

Riz Ahmed plays the secondary character in the film, to great critical acclaim; Rene Russo is also given credit for a scene-stealing turn as Nina, Bloom’s sexual interest, and one of the editors to whom he sells film.

In its review, the Guardian suggested that while Nightcrawler may not be groundbreaking, “‘Nightcrawler’ stands out as a welcome anomaly today, recalling the sort of hard-nosed dramas once made by directors such as Michael Mann, Sidney Lumet or James B Harris.”

Other leading films over the holiday weekend were:

  • 3. Fury, $9.1m, $60.4m
  • 4. Gone Girl, $8.8m, $136.6m
  • 5. The Book of Life, $8.3m, $40.5m
  • 6. John Wick, $8.1m, $27.6m
  • 7. St Vincent, $7.8m, $19.5m
  • 8. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, $6.5m, $53.6m
  • 9. The Judge, $3.4m, $39.5m
  • 10. Dracula Untold, $2.9m, $52.9m