Although critics quickly seized on its critique of media sensationalism, Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” is equally effective (and less redundant) as a satire of millennial entitlement and management doublespeak. (The movie opens in theaters October 31.) Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom, who prowls the streets of Los Angeles looking for videogenic disasters he can sell to TV newscasts, is a specific breed of all-American go-getter: ruthless, amoral, and unbound by realistic assessments of his own skills and accomplishments. Having been, by his own token, “raised with the self-esteem movement so popular in schools,” he believes he can do anything, and that belief is all it takes.
A few months back, Lou posted a video résumé to YouTube, under the title “Hard Worker Seeking Employment,” and now he, or rather “Nightcrawler’s” marketing team, has followed up with a LinkedIn profile, through which he’s already made connections with several figures including Weekly Standard film critic Derek Malcolm. (Naturally, he has a Twitter account as well.) Given that most of Lou’s connections seem to reside in the U.K., the campaign is likely the work of the film’s British distributor, whose marketing manager has enthusiastically endorsed Lou for such skills as “Management,” “Strategic Planning,” and “Marketing Strategy,” but thanks to the Internet, we can enjoy it the world ’round.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Lou is “CEO at Video News Production,” which those who’ve already seen “Nightcrawler” will recognize as a sly reference to the character’s grandiose designs: Video News Production, such as it is, consists entirely of Lou and the camcorder he buys from a pawn shop, plus, eventually, a wayward young man he convinces to work as his intern. In other words, he’d better hope that no prospective employer fact-checks the claim, ” I run a tight knit team of hard-working professionals and manage a thriving company that provides TV news with quality footage that guarantees high ratings.”
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Although it’s far too brief, Lou’s LinkedIn profile is actually a better indicator of what “Nightcrawler” is like than the movie’s commercials, which systematically strip away the movie’s satire and present it as precisely the thing it’s reacting against. Compare and contrast: