Nightcrawler

MV5BMjM5NjkzMjE5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTMzNTk4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a small-time, two-bit thief eking out an existence in modern-day Los Angeles: he steals copper wire and chain link fencing and sells it to construction contractors, who will not hire him for construction jobs because he is dishonest.

One night, he comes upon a burning car from which paramedics are trying to free a trapped woman and discovers “nightcrawlers,” people who film violent/gory content and sell it to the local news networks. Lou figures this is something that he could be good at, so he steals a bike and trades it for a movie camera and police scanner at a  pawn shop.

He prowls at night finding the scene of a carjacking gone wrong. Despite being to told to leave by police, he is able to get some graphic footage. He sells the footage to  a local news station, which happens to be the lowest rated in the area. Rene Russo plays the news director, who encourages Lou to bring her more footage.

Lou hires an assistant, played by Riz Ahmed, to help him gather footage to sell. Soon after, Lou and his assistant respond to a crime-in-progress and get to the crime scene before the police. Lou re-stages the crime scene to get “better” footage. He hatches a plan to find the killers and get their arrest on camera to sell to the news stations, but with lethal consequences.

The movie is a timely exploration of the consequences of getting ever-increasing graphic/bloody footage to an increasing desensitized audience. When this footage is gathered by an ethically/morally challenged individual, these consequences are both horrifying and devastating.

Worth a look if want to see a fascinating (if disturbing) glimpse into an amoral creep who will do anything to get bloody/gory news footage to sell.

Skip it if you are tired of ever-increasing grapic news footage.

Click on the following link to place a hold:

Nightcrawler

– Steve

 

The Drop

the_drop.phpThe Drop is the story of Bob Saginowski (played by Tom Hardy) a bartender at a Brooklyn bar, ostensibly owned by his cousin, Marv (played by James Gandolfini.) The bar is the location for money drops from Chechen mafia, who actually own the bar. The Chechens move the money around the city to avoid having to use banks.

Unfortunately having large, unreported sums of cash on hand makes the bar a target for two petty thieves who rob Bob and Marv. The Chechen mafia gets wind of it and they threaten Bob and Marv with torture and death if they do not get the money back.

In another story line, Bob rescues a puppy from a trash can, left there to die. Bob meets Nadia (played by Noomi Rapace), who owns the house with the trash where bob found the abandoned dog. Bob and Nadia start dating.  Soon after, Nadia’s psycho ex-boyfriend (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) shows up. He’s an ex-con who brags about being responsible for an unsolved murder.

Based on a short story by Dennis Lahane, The Drop is a taut, gritty crime thriller. As the two story lines converge, there is a surprising plot twist and things are not what they appear to be on the surface. Bob appears to be soft-spoken and low key but the truth is unsettling.

Worth a look if you like smart, well-written crime dramas.

Skip it if you like more happier, more upbeat movies.

Click on the following link to place a hold:

The Drop

– steve