The new movie NIGHTCRAWLER has generated well-deserved Oscar buzz for Jake Gyllenhaal’s charismatically creepy performance as a ruthless manipulator who sells bloody footage of crime and accident victims to a local news broadcast in LA.
The movie, from first-time director Dan Gilroy, rightly indicts TV news for its relentless focus on violence and disaster, giving the public a scary and inaccurate view of the state of the world. Though the film doesn’t say so specifically, that’s why most Americans think crime is constantly going up, when it’s actually been cut in half in the last 25 years.
Twice in NIGHTCRAWLER, characters cross paths with the exploitative anti-hero and tell him they never watch TV, decrying the medium’s lurid distortions of reality. Viewers of this powerful film might consider making a similar decision in response to the corrupt and misleading nature of so much of today’s television news.