A review from our Community Correspondent Emily McCurrie
5/5 Rated 15. General release until December 23.
This was a gripping film about an unemployed man desperately looking for work. He was driven when selling himself to potential employers but also willing to do anything just to make a living. It raises the issue of just how far we would go to earn some money.
I saw the trailer and it looked so enticing I felt excited about booking my ticket. It certainly lived up to expectations. It got great reviews and I now know why.
Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, and this is quite possibly the best acting I’ve seen from him. I’ve always been a fan of Jake (his performance in Prisoners was excellent) and I find him very convincing. Here, he is often disturbing and intense as he finds himself in the world of crime journalism: a massively competitive world which continually challenges him.
He begins to earn decent cash but is pushed further and further into getting the story that will sell best. If I’d come from poverty, fallen into a career I was good at and suddenly began making easy money, I’m not sure how easily I’d be able to resist temptation to get away from my old life. I think it’s human nature to want to take short cuts but how far each of us would go is another story.
That said, Lou Bloom is unnerving to watch as he cruelly manipulates those around him. Fortunately, most of us wouldn’t go to such extremes but would find guilt and empathy pulling us back. This is something Lou clearly lacks and it plays out brilliantly.
What I love is how the film shows that people with these tendencies can appear all around us. No, not the killers, but those people who are happy to step on others to get ahead, treating others as puppets that serve them well and then discard them when they’re no longer useful. I see them myself wherever I go!
The important thing is learning to recognise them and keeping ourselves safe from them, especially if we’re vulnerable and may be easily manipulated. We may be anxious, depressed or lead a very stressful life and therefore be more open to manipulation than usual. I say, listen to your gut instinct if something doesn’t feel quite right. Easier said than done as these people are often charming and seem good natured.
Lou Bloom is especially clever at doing this. Although immoral, his ability to learn quickly, adapt to his environment and work out how to always be two steps ahead of everyone else is really quite brilliant.
If you like your thrillers (without too much gore) go see this film. It easily gets a 5 out of 5!