Nightcrawler Ending Explained (With Full Plot Analysis)

Nightcrawler is a 2014 thriller written and directed by Dan Gilroy, who also gave us Velvet Buzzsaw. The film is centered on Lou Bloom (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), a desperate man who will do anything to make a buck. Jake delivers like a boss in this role alongside a brilliant cast. There are some fascinating themes to discuss here. Diane from EssayWriterCheap takes you through the breathtaking world of this movie. Here is the plot and ending of the movie Nightcrawler explained; spoilers ahead.

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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Nightcrawler: What is it About?

Nightcrawler is a chilling portrait of a modern-day monster – and I’m not just talking about the main character, Lou Bloom. Bloom is an unemployed loner who stumbles upon the underground world of freelance crime reporting. He quickly realizes that there is a lot of money to be made in this dark and dangerous industry, and he’s not afraid to do whatever it takes to get ahead. This includes exploiting and manipulating people who are already vulnerable and sometimes crossing the line into outright criminal behavior.

The film is a commentary on our increasingly voyeuristic society, where we are constantly bombarded with shocking images of death and violence. It’s disturbing to see what happens when someone is willing to do anything to get ahead.

What’s disturbing about Lou is that he’s not your average psycho-killer. Lou is intelligent and articulate. He knows how to charm his way into people’s lives. He’s the kind of person who could talk you into doing anything.

The film is a cautionary tale about the lengths people will go to to make money and the kind of darkness lurking behind the guise of civility. It’s an unsettling look at our society and the way it’s trending.

Nightcrawler: Plot Explained In Short

Experienced thief Louis Bloom is trying to find a job, but no one wants to hire him, even as an intern. One day, he witnesses an amateur film crew filming a car accident. The video shows how the police risk their lives, pulling a wounded woman out of a burning car. This entry is on the morning news. After this incident, Louis becomes interested in this line of work. 

He trades in a bike he stole on the beach for a camera and a police scanner and films the aftermath of a car theft to sell the video to a local TV company. News director Nina Romina buys Louis’ tape, noting his ability as a videographer to shoot the right angles. She also says that viewers like to see violent crime in wealthy areas on the news, and therefore she needs recordings of spectacular events. 


Rick in Nightcrawler

After some time, Lou hires a young man who is in great need of money (Rick) as his partner. They patrol the city in search of nightly incidents. Soon their recordings become popular on television, and the news agency pays good money to Louis. He buys a fast car and new equipment for filming. However, he does not intend to stop there and is ready to do anything it takes to shoot an incredibly exclusive video. 

Beating The Competition

After another nightcrawler manages to be the first to film a crash, Louis decides to take him out of the game. Because of him, the competitor loses car control, crashes into a pole, and breaks his spine. Louis remorselessly shoots all this on a video camera.

The House Of The Dead

Louis and Rick find themselves at the scene of a house robbery in a wealthy neighborhood. Louis manages to film the criminals leaving by car and the victims of the crime in the house before the police arrive. 

He sells this recording to a news agency for $15,000 and tells Nina his terms for further cooperation. Now he and Rick work as journalists for their own company, Video News.

Soon, the police begin to suspect Louis of hiding information and ask him to show them a copy of the footage from the crime scene. He gives them the video but pre-cuts a segment that allows the robbers to be identified. After that, Louis tracks down the criminals by car number and arrives at their house with his partner. 

Rick asks for more

A conflict arises between Louis and Rick, Rick wants a bigger reward. So he demands half the amount Louis will make by selling the footage. Louis agrees to give him the money but is in no hurry to call the police. Instead, Louis waits until the robbers leave the house, and after that, he follows them to a fast food restaurant, where they stop for a bite. 

Only then Louis calls the police and reveals the location of the criminals, after which he begins to film. Soon the cops arrive, and a shootout starts in the restaurant. One of the attackers manages to get into the car. Louis follows him and records everything on video. After some time, the criminal gets into an accident while trying to push the police car away.

Rick Becomes The Story

Louis sends his partner to film the supposedly dead thug, but he turns out to be alive and shoots Rick. The police arrive and kill the last criminal who’s trying to resist. Louis approaches his injured partner and admits that he deliberately lied to him in order to remove an unreliable employee from his company. Rick then dies. 

In the news agency, everyone is shocked by the video; this is a big sensational news for their TV channel. However, the police think differently; they detain Louis, suspecting that he deliberately did not immediately hand over the criminals in order to film the shootout in which people died. But they don’t have enough evidence against Louis, so the cops are forced to let him go. At the film’s end, Louis is shown taking on new employees as interns and advising them to follow his advice.

Nightcrawler: Ending Explained

Nightcrawler ending explained

After the actual death of Lou’s assistant, viewers expect the main character to be apprehended by the law. However, the ending of Nightcrawler shows that the police cannot do anything to Lou; he succeeds despite causing all the deaths, and his company becomes a real news agency. Thus, the director emphasizes “unsinkability”; modern media with their cynicism and manipulation of the audience.

However, in addition to nightcrawlers, news directors, and owners of TV channels, the viewer is always involved in the construction of the information picture of the world.

Nightcrawler presents a sad diagnosis not only of modern journalism but also of the society that has high demand for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Nightcrawler: Did Louis cause the crash?

Yes, we’re shown a scene where Lou tampers with Joe Loder’s van. I believe he messed with the brake fluid. This causes the brakes to slow-fail, causing the driver to suddenly lose control.

Did Joe Loder die?

We’re shown that Joe is severely injured in the crash, and Lou is there to take a video of it to sell it to the news network(s). But it appears that Joe might have survived but was severely incapacitated for life.

Nightcrawler: Did Louis sleep with Nina?

Yes. Not only does Lou blackmail Nina to go out on a date with him, he forces her to sleep with him by telling her he’ll not provide her with any more footage.

Nightcrawler: Did Louis kill the security guard?

No, it doesn’t look like it. Lou is cold and calculating. He keeps a relatively low profile, and murder would have the cops on his back. It appears he knocks out the guard and steals his watch. The security guard could approach the authorities to I.D Lou, but that’s just going to make him look like a terrible security guard, wouldn’t it?

The Main Character, Lou Bloom

Lou Nightcrawler Character Analysis

Lou Bloom is the kind of guy you don’t want to meet in a dark alley. He’s a sociopath who will do whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter who he has to step on along the way.

Bloom is a cameraman who operates on the margins of the news industry. He films accidents and crime scenes, selling the footage to local news stations. And his footage is always the grisly, gory kind that people love to watch.

What’s so chilling about Bloom is that he doesn’t see himself as an evil person. He’s fully convinced that he’s just doing what it takes to get ahead. And he’s immune to the horror and violence that he films daily. He’s attracted to it.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of the best performances as Lou, the lean and hungry embodiment of tough times and tougher choices. Pale and somber even as he’s spouting nothing but clichés, Lou is what you’d get if you shoved Jay Gatsby under a rock for a few decades and fed him nothing but MBA-talk and motivational literature.

Themes of Nightcrawler


Nightcrawler is a superb thriller, but it’s also a drama that takes you by the throat and shakes you. You’ll read other reviews calling Nightcrawler a media satire. Still, it’s worth noting that all of the conduct of the fictional LA news station that starts buying Lou’s footage isn’t satirical, just accurate. 


Ex-anchor now-producer Nina (frosty and fabulous in a great role) explains how the subtext of all her station’s crime coverage is “urban crime moving to the suburbs”. It’s a euphemism which never says anything about race while being solely about race; you’re hardly shocked. It’s pretty much what you already get on the nightly news.


With moments of social commentary, crime film, suspense thriller, and urban noir, Nightcrawler has many genre influences. However, most interestingly, and most effectively, it’s at its best as a kind of economic horror film. 


Writer-director Gilroy noted in an interview how nightcrawlers only exist because LA news stations would otherwise have to pay their union camera people and correspondents double wages after 10 pm. Lou’s essentially the freelancer from hell, a cost-cutter who knows how to slice.

Lou lies to his employers and employees, doing what he can to get ahead, breaking every rule in the book; we see Lou go from pulling his gear from the back of a battered hatchback to a gleaming muscle car. And Lou is a go-getter, self-taught Gordon Gecko or an entrepreneurial Norman Bates. 

Scripted Leadership

Lou avows to several of his employees at several points, “I will never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself”. They just don’t know where Lou draws the line.

The Evil Inside

We live in a world where too many people are one medical emergency or car accident away from being homeless. What makes Nightcrawler a horror film isn’t just the fear that Lou might show up one day unexpectedly at your door; it’s the fear he may show up one morning unexpectedly in your mirror.

Choice Of Frame Size

As Lou records all he sees on video, you come to appreciate Nightcrawler as a deeply cinematic film. I don’t mean that it only looks great, although it does. Cinematographer Robert Elswit (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) and Gilroy made the risky yet rewarding, challenging yet game-changing decision to shoot the film’s day scenes in 35mm and the night scenes with video. This makes the visuals harmonize with the film’s feel and story.

Other Film Vibes

It’s also a movie that feels like a lot of other films. The late-night world of Drive, the brooding 4 am LA beauty and terror of Miracle Mile, the psycho-cynicism of David Cronenberg (but with gorgeous camerawork and lighting), and the glossy guilty pleasures in some of DePalma’s early work (but without the ruinous excesses). And while Gyllenhaal gives what may be the performance of his lifetime, he’s also aided by incredible performers, including Russo and Bill Paxton as a veteran of the field Lou is oozing into. Riz Ahmed is startlingly, slyly brilliant and urgent as Rick, Lou’s unpaid intern who winds up more an accomplice than an assistant.

This film is a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting ambition take over your life. It’s a story about how easy it is for someone like Lou Bloom to exploit the system and how quickly he can go from being an outsider to being the most feared person in the room.

The Cinematography of Nightcrawler

The cinematography of Nightcrawler is chilling, and it’s one of the movie’s strongest points. It’s set in present-day Los Angeles, which is itself a character in the film. And the way the camera moves—swooping and diving through the city streets—creates a feeling of unease and dread.

You feel like you’re right there with Lou as he stalks his prey, and the effect is downright terrifying. The scenes where he’s creeping around people’s homes or lying in wait to catch a glimpse of a car accident are masterfully done.

The use of light and shadow is also very effective, and it helps to create a sense of realism that heightens the tension. Nightcrawler will stay with you long after you’ve watched it, and it’s definitely worth watching.

Nightcrawler: Conclusion

You go see Nightcrawler because you’re in the mood for some dark and disturbing entertainment. And it does not disappoint. This film is a chilling portrait of a modern-day monster – the kind of guy who will do anything to get ahead. Gyllenhaal’s performance is stunning, and he’s surrounded by a great cast. If you’re in the mood for a twisted thriller, Nightcrawler is definitely worth your time.

What were your thoughts on the the plot and ending of Nightcrawler? Do leave a comment below.