Thoughts on Nightcrawler – Read>Watch or Watch>Read?

Dan Gilroy’s thriller Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal as an opportunistic sociopath who delves into the world of underground journalism is inspiring.

I read the screenplay first, a masterclass in craft and story, then watched the film.  I enjoyed the film but found it a little slow because the script’s so fast paced, the film didn’t match the speed in my head.  So, what’s better, read then watch or watch then read?


Watching second means you lose out on the surprise.  Reading second means you not only get the surprise, watching the movie as it should be seen, but can also learn how the writer wrote the actions and dialogue to play out on screen.  I guess Watch>Read is better.

The script itself was a pleasure to learn from as it uses an unconventional, simplistic format to tell the story, making it quite reader friendly as it evokes clarity when illustrating the scenes in mind’s eye.  The script possesses a 3-Act structure, but it’s well hidden because of how active the protagonist is as well as the format.  I mean the guy creates his own ally, creates his own fortune, and watching him get there is a guilty pleasure of sorts.  Go Lou!


Of course, the script itself is an illustration of capitalism, highlighting its lows by depicting a version of the highs.  I highly recommend it to any one interested in screenwriting or film.  It’s a lot of fun to read, and at the end of the day that’s exactly what you want.


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