First Hit:  Amazing performance in a film about a dark undercurrent theme of our society.

We like voyeur’s views of the world. How do I know, watch television news. News programs would not be as popular as they are without having a certain voyeuristic view into other people’s lives, our lives.

Here we have Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is trying to make a life for himself. He’s a thief who sells stolen metal at junk yards. He runs up on a freeway accident where he watches a videographer filming the gruesome scene. He finds out that TV news stations buy this kind of video so he decides to become an independent videographer as a way to make an interesting living. It is to the depth in which he dives into this new role that highlights the film and the story.

Louis’ sleazy looks, acts of righteous knowledgeable indignation, slumping posture, while embodying the role of providing gory TV news film for money – that makes this film all-encompassing and watchable. While this film is about Louis’ voyeuristic ways, it is also about the audiences’ engagement with the video Louis shoots as well as viewing Louis’ life.

Gyllenhaal was so immersed and engaged that I believed everything about this character. Rene Russo (playing Nina Romina the News Director who buys Louis’ video) is absolutely fabulous. Her facial expressions at the date/dinner she has with Louis are amazing. Her directness in decision making in the newsroom – perfect. Riz Ahmed as Rick, Louis’ right hand man was extraordinary. Dan Gilroy wrote and directed this film. The writing was superb and his direction of the actors and scenes was, at times, riveting.

Overall:  This film was well done and Gyllenhaal made it this way.