The French Connection. The Road Warrior. The Bourne Identity. Bullitt. The Matrix Reloaded. The Fast and Furious franchise. A great, thrilling, propulsive car chase has long been a badge of honor for some of cinema's most celebrated — or merely successful — thrillers, and this weekend, the new psychological thriller Nightcrawler joins their ranks. (Caution: Some MAJOR SPOILERS follow.)
After tracing the uneasy rise of freelance crime scene videographer Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed), the film concludes with a tense police standoff in an L.A. restaurant that leads to a harrowing police chase through the streets of Los Angeles, with Lou and Rick in hot pursuit.
The result is one of the most thrilling and satisfying movie car chases in recent memory, but writer-director Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy) had originally conceived the sequence to be far more elaborate. After sitting down with his stunt coordinator and second unit director Mike Smith, cinematographer Robert Elswit, and producer (and older brother) Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), however, the filmmaker realized he needed to focus his vision.