Astrology: Film: Review: ‘Nightcrawler’ (2014)

Open Road Films

Open Road Films

In the business world, adding value is the name of the game. In Nightcrawler, this type of proactive goal-setting is the mantra of Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the amoral, manipulative, lying, eruptive sleazebag of an entrepreneur whose behavior is, in equal measure, both horrifying and fascinating.

Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler introduces Lou making ends meet through theft and petty violence. He’s reed-thin, as though in a perpetual state of hunger for the fleshiness of self-made manhood. One day, at an accident site, he stumbles onto a “nightcrawler,” a person who makes a living shooting videos at the scene and then selling them as exclusives to media outlets. One stolen racing bike and $800-pawnshop-credit later, Lou has got the minimal equipment to give this sort of livelihood a shot. After a few clumsy outings, he’s a fledgling member of the TV-news business, tapping into his considerable “me-first” aptitude and treasure chest of self-help scripts.

Two things stand out. On the one hand, Lou carries two diametrically opposed archetypes. He has a glaring penchant for Saturnine order, scheduling and attention to detail. His small apartment is as neat as a pin, and he sews, irons and waters his plant. In short, he’s the proverbial accountant with no risk-taking bone in his body. On the other hand, he’s the guy who becomes addicted to the “We’re first!” rush of the Uranian principle, driving insanely fast to arrive wherever the next mayhem – home invasions, car crashes, drug deals gone bad – has occurred.

Gilroy brilliantly see-saws both poles of Lou’s personality, making his wild-card side – wandering into and filming crime scenes without supervision, and rearranging them at will – more terrifying the more Lou becomes the authority figure. It’s the Saturnine organizational principle of placement gone amok.

As Lou “blooms,” generating a flowering garden of blood and can’t-look-away images, his relationships become conduits for spewing forth the self-help nuggets he has squirreled away. Professionally (and then some), he’s tied to Nina (Rene Russo), a local news director of a certain age at a network with sinking ratings, who needs to secure the upper-class-fear-of-violence footage that Lou provides to keep her career alive. Also central is Rick (Riz Ahmed), Lou’s uneducated but increasingly ambitious assistant.

Nightcrawler’s deceptively simple tale, set in the Plutonic blood-splattered underworld of Los Angeles, is, below the surface, an archetypally rich work. Lou is never not a good talker, even when spitting out clichés. He’s the consummate Mercurial Trickster, who’s not above blurring (Neptune) and crossing Saturnine boundaries and ethics, and committing Martial violence to effect his career ambitions and self-mastery. To get there, Lou Bloom doesn’t soar. He crawls. It’s ugly. And it’s eminently watchable.

Archetype: Trickster, Thief, Accountant, Entrepreneur, CEO, Manipulator, Amorality, Rules, Boundaries.

Astrology Archetype: ☿ ♂ ♄ ♅ ♆ ♇ (Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)

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