By SHAWNA KHALAFI
In the new film “Nightcrawler,” Jake Gyllenhaal plays a freelance videographer journalist who lives by the motto: “It bleeds, it leads.”
The filmmakers, Dan and Tony Gilroy, have said in interviews that their purpose behind making this movie was not simply to entertain, but rather to force people to consider and acknowledge what news media has become in the digital age.
Dan Gilroy was critical about local news.
“(Local news) is all about selling the statistically disproved narrative that urban crime is creeping into the suburbs. To spread fear and grab viewers. They package it all like news, but it comes out as a narrative to spread fear,” he stated.
Gilroy also stressed the idea that filmmakers, just like journalists, serve as a bridge between true news and the public. As this bridge, journalists must evaluate every piece of information that is presented to them and judge it based on validity and urgency before releasing it to public knowledge.
“The facility and ease with which these images are now coming at us, we have to decide on a minute-by-minute basis what we let in and what we don’t,” Gilroy said. “The viewers are the users of the images that get shown on TV. We are part of that system; whatever is being fed to us, and we consume it like fast food, keeps coming because we seem to demand it.”
Although many people may agree with this assumption about news media, it is also important to acknowledge the audience of the film and recognize their motivations for watching it in the first place.
Since this particular movie contains a lot of violence, one could that the graphic content is what draws viewers, and not the exposure of news media and journalism truths. This fact will also be important to considers when reviewing the reasons for the successes and/or failures of the movie.
Movie Pilot’s Lisa Carol Fremont argues: “We are a society weaned on and fattened up by rubbernecking journalism and worse than that, we are complicit in it. Lou (Gyllenhaal’s character) is just another cog in this giant machine that seems to celebrate real life violence, heartache and human ugliness.”
Fremont agrees with the notion that “Nightcrawler” as a film isn’t so much a reflection of the news industry as it is on the audience and its escalating taste for thrill and violence.