Is 'Nightcrawler' Based On a True Story? Not Exactly, But Close Enough

While most of us have plans to overdose on candy this Halloween, let this serve as some inspiration: Jake Gyllenhaal's new film Nightcrawler is opening in theaters on Friday, and it's definitely worth taking a break from the sugar coma to head over to the movies. As witnessed in the trailer, the Dan Gilroy-helmed film's cinematography promises to be amazing, and the plot is the perfect blend of dark and thrilling — not to mention, Gyllenhaal is reportedly already getting major Oscar talk for his role as freelance crime journalist Louis Bloom. 

With all the buzz surrounding the film, though, the question is begged: Is Nightcrawler based on a true story? After all, Gyllenhaal dropped a reported 20 pounds to portray Bloom — it's not totally out of the box to wonder if there was real-life inspiration behind the weight loss in form of an actual Louis Bloom.

The answer, unfortunately, isn't simply black and white. After all, the plot follows a Los Angeles news station that will go to any lengths, including staging crimes, to produce sensational, fear-mongering stories meant to scare white, suburban viewers fearing inner city crime leaking into their neighborhoods — and that's not something a news station could blatantly do without being called out. But, while Nightcrawler isn't directly based on any true story, it is a mix of social commentary and true stories plucked from around the globe. 

There is no Louis Bloom, yes, but there have been reporters like him: Brazilian TV host Wallace Souza, for example, who in 2009 was arrested and accused of facilitating murders so he could report about them on his crime show and boost ratings. The film does seem heavily inspired, in the very least, by that story. 

However, mainly, Nightcrawler seems as if it's meant to be commentary on the state of local and national news coverage, and how stories are often angled in sensational ways to attract different viewers — in other words, how fair and balanced news may not always be centered.

Whatever the case with its creative roots, though, Nightcrawler still promises to present a lot of food for thought as it's released in theaters this Friday — and that alone should make it worth a trip to the theaters. Check the trailer below.

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Image: Open Road Films

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