Movie Crime Log: Nightcrawler, Countryman & Snatchers

Happy Halloween to you, sirs and mesdames. Let’s hope it’s not like The Purge round your way tonight.

If you don’t want to sit in the dark waiting for the streets to clear of pint-sized zombies and sweet-toothed ghoulies, you could always get the hell out of the house. There’s a thing called a cinema near you.

And the Oscar push starts tonight. Big posters round my way have been shouting ‘A Modern Masterpiece!’ and all sorts to describe Nightcrawler, a neo noir written and directed by Dan Gilroy.

Nightcrawler has been likened to Taxi Driver. It’s the story of Lou Bloom, a misfit drifter, who discovers the world of crime journalism, becoming a nightcrawler who chases ambulances and police sirens in night-time LA. Jake Gyllenhaal’s gone and lost loads of weight and he’s making mad, crazy acting eyes for the ladies and gentlemen of the academy.

Neo noir. I like that phrase, I’m going to use that again.

The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman is an oddity. It’s an American-Romanian co-produciton for a start, and features Shia Lebouf –- remember him? At one point he was in, like, every film going. And now, not so much. Curiously, Lebouf briefly dropped out of the production and was replaced by Zac Efron –- but then came back on board.

Anyway, it’s kind of a comedy drama with surreal elements about what happens when you travel abroad to see your girlfriend and discover her psychotic ex-husband is still in the picture.

Now this is more like it. Someone clever has re-released the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in key cities. So that’s London and Aberdeen and Lancaster and, er, Letchworth, and some other places.

It’s been hugely influential, of course, for its paranoid take on identity and conformity, and has remade several times. Jack Finney’s original novel ends with the alien body snatchers throwing in the towel and pissing off somewhere else after intense human resistance, but the movie ends on a more ambiguous note.

Every film bore knows it’s regarded as a metaphor for the McCarthy witch hunts or, alternatively, as an allegory for communism, although the producer was somewhat surprised at the many meanings given to it as he thought he was making a sci-fi thriller.

So, look, enjoy your evening, but if someone comes around and asks to place a gigantic pod in your vegetable patch, politely decline. And then leave town.


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