We caught this movie back on 4th November - my birthday. We've been having too much excitement since then to do a review until now. Sorry.
For me it was a 'must see', now I'm not so sure.
I was sold on the trailer - and it may be that that was the best of the film. You know what it's like; sometimes a clever trailer opens an exciting window into a film, sometimes the trailer gives away the whole story.
Jake Gyllenhaal, plays a small-time thief who uses his leisure hours to devour business websites and self-improvement tips on the internet. Unfortunately, his every attempt at earning an honest living fails until one night he stops by a gruesome pile-up on the interstate and watches a freelance video stringer filming the action.
He buys a camera and slowly learns how he can make a quick buck from other peoples misery; at last he has found something he's good at.
He is ruthless and clever and his self improvement tips come in handy; he works hard.
He builds a relationship with René Russo's over the hill news editor until she comes to depend on him.
Then he starts to get just a little too close to the action; suddenly he is there when the robberies are happening, sometimes even before.
I won't give any more away but there is a nerve-tingling car chase and some good stunts. I appreciated the fabulous handbrake turn which parked Jake's car facing the way it had been coming but with the camera focussed on the smoke coming off its rear tyres.
But the trailer promised so much more; it was supposed to be a critique of modern news 'values' and 'ethics'. It was supposed to shine a spotlight on the sepsis at the heart of American news TV.
It ultimately failed.
Part of the problem was a failure to actually spell things out, to take the story to it's real life conclusion.
Actually the main problem was the miscasting of Gyllenhaal.
In this movie he's too creepy by half; those eyes, that scary stare.
In real life he'd never even get in through the newsroom door; he's an obvious thief and psychopath.
In real life the rapacious media barons, the psychopathic reporters, the brutal and ruthless paparazzi are attractive and witty people; they are good company. They have charm.
Of course they are monsters, but they don't look like monsters. On the contrary they look like the young Robert Redford. They look like Kylie.
Here, Guyllenhall was just too nasty, too evil.
And ultimately the film was made by old men or rather, by people who are just plain out of date.
Jake didn't need to steal to get the money to buy a silly old out of date video camera; he has a smart phone. Dammit, everybody except me has a smartphone. He wouldn't have been able to get near the news for a queue of people with their smartphones out, filming.
The film was out of date before it was made - the issues are different now. Everybody is a reporter.
Mind you I did still enjoy it, it went quickly - it's a good thoughtful movie.
Make up your own mind....check it out yourself.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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