Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a weird loner who gets by selling stolen scrap metal in outer L.A. One night he happens by a fiery accident, where a free-lance “crime journalist” on the scene mentions that being the first with violent footage pays pretty well. Lou is interested. It appears that all one needs is (a) a camera and police scanner, and (b) nothing resembling a moral compass. Neither is a problem for a guy like Lou.
Oh, you also need a TV station so desperate for video carnage that they’ll pay basically by the body count. Again, not a problem. This is L.A. The first news director Lou meets is Nina (Rene Russo), who lays it out in a way that shouldn’t shock anybody who watches local news: If it bleeds, it leads. Especially if the bleeding involves white victims who are at least middle class. Sound familiar?
Pretty soon Lou figures out that Nina’s need for ratings makes her malleable. And he realizes he can increase the value of his product by being, well, more than an observer.
This is a chilly little movie that won’t have you cheering for anybody, except maybe Lou’s hapless assistant Rick. That’s probably one reason it didn’t do that well at the Oscars or at the box office. No matter. Dave Bob says check it out.