What an original and darkly engaging directorial debut from director/writer Dan Gilroy! Jake Gyllenhaal was mesmerising as he disappeared into a role that is wholly unique, with equal parts charming and frightening.
Gilroy gave us a story with a relatively original concept, bringing us into the world of news video capturing. But at the same time, it was also a satirical rift on modern news channel relentless focus on crime and violence which is only because of the viewers' insatiable appetite for such "news". Aaron Sorkin will have such a field day with this - oh wait, he did already with The Newsroom.
Watching the movie itself leads the audience to question not only their own morality but also the ethics behind journalism.
Gilroy framed the movie in three distinct Acts, making Gyllenhaal's character's story easy to follow as we see him dip his toes, then start to swim, and finally dive all the way. In addition, the character himself was written very well, as his full character slowly emerges as the movie unfolds, and the audience, after connecting with him in the first act, may find themselves in a moral quandary as they realised that they may be slowly rooting for this anti-hero...or not.
However, none of all the above would have been possible without the fantastic portrayal by Gyllenhaal. This may possibly be his finest work and in an ideal world, would surely ensure him an Oscar nomination (but the race for that seemed rather tight this year). Gyllenhaal created a whole new person complete with mannerisms, ticks, walk and talk. That really is dedication to the craft. He was at times utterly charming, and at other moments totally frightening. Even just those little eye movements make his character all that more real.
Rene Russo - wife of Gilroy - was a good match for Gyllenhaal and her scenes with him were equally intense.
Cinematography by Robert Elswit had a very news-footage feel to it and the crime scenes were gorgeously shot. Music by James Newton Howard was also appropriate, moving the action and tension along.
A brilliant movie with a star performance by Gyllenhaal.