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    Lou 

Louis "Lou" Bloom

Played By: Jake Gyllenhaal
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nightcrawler_lou_3.jpg
  • Ambiguous Disorder: While never stated outright, Lou seems to be a sociopath.
  • Ambition Is Evil: His lust for wealth leads him to alter crime scenes and eventually start causing them so he can get paid.
  • Badass Bookworm: He mentions that he spends most of his time researching various topics on his laptop, but he can handle himself in a fight, as evidenced by the opening scene in which he beats up a security guard.
  • Batman Gambit: He can set in motion some pretty complicated plans for a good shot.
  • Big Bad: Spends the entire film manipulating everything and screwing everybody over to improve his business.
  • Cool Car: Longs for a fancy sports car and buys one as soon as he makes enough selling footage.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: At the start of the movie, he's just a down-on-luck guy trying to find a job. When he does find his job, well... it all goes downhill from there.
  • Determinator: A villainous example. Nothing and nobody gets between Lou and what he wants - woe betide any and all who would dare stand in the way.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Speeds like a maniac when he's trying to get to a scene, often freaking out Rick and making him mess up on the directions.
  • Evil Is Petty: At the end of the day, the only reason he cut Joe Loder's brakes was to take out a bit of competition.
  • Exact Words: As an example, he tells his new interns at the end of the movie: "I would never ask you to do anything I myself wouldn't do." Considering that he is willing to do literally anything...
  • Faux Affably Evil: With his odd, permanent smile that never reaches his eyes, gaunt build, unblinking wide stare and practiced, overly formal manner of speaking, Lou calls to mind someone who can mimic humanity well but not perfectly.
  • Hypocrite: When looking for a job at the scrapyard early in the movie, he claims his motto is, "In order to win the lottery, you have to have the money to buy a ticket." Basically, don't expect the world on a silver platter. However, he expects to be given the job on the spot, with no resume or interview of any sort, and is surprised when the foreman turns him down.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Lou starts with fairly small offenses, like entering houses uninvited or tampering with crime scenes, but what firmly establishes him as the Villain Protagonist is tampering with Joe Loder's brakes.
  • Karma Houdini: He gets away with (in)directly killing several people to further his career.
  • Kick the Dog: Intentionally getting poor Rick killed by a criminal... then filming his death.
  • Lack of Empathy: Doesn't display a single ounce of sympathy for the people whose misery he films to get paid.
  • Lean and Mean: Lou is a rather skinny person and the Villain Protagonist of the film.
  • Louis Cypher: Ok, it might be a stretch to say that "Lou" stands for Lucifer, and he's almost certainly not intended to literally be the Devil-but given that both Nina and Rick are in a Deal with the Devil with him, that he essentially feeds on the suffering of others, and that there seems to be almost nothing human within him... it wouldn't be unfitting.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lou is a master of convincing people to do what he wants. This is best exemplified with how he interacts with Rick and Nina.
  • Motor Mouth: He's a really fast talker. Especially when he's selling himself.
  • Neat Freak: His house is very organized and clean. He also threatens Rick if he dirties his car.
  • No Social Skills: Rick calls him out on this, saying he "doesn't understand people". Lou retorts that he just doesn't like them.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: After Joe Loder beats him to the punch, Lou has one of his most human (and yet most terrifying) moments when he screams in impotent rage against his mirror.
  • Sexual Extortion: Lou, aware of Nina's tenuous position and many failed contracts, proposes this to her; exchanging sex for exclusive first rights to his footage.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: He begins a sexual relationship with Nina via Sexual Extortion.
  • Smug Smiler: Lou is seen thinking he can get people to believe his ridiculous lies with a smile and enough confidence in his words.
  • Spock Speak: Lou seems to have learned how to speak primarily from online business courses.
  • The Sociopath: Lou is utterly devoid of remorse, affection or shame. He sees people as tools and objects to be used and then discarded without a second thought.
  • Stepford Smiler: He's always smiling in a vacant, creepy way to try and mask the repulsive sociopath he truly is.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Lou threatens Rick, he's deliberately cold and calm.
  • Villain Protagonist: Lou is a grotesque, subhuman creature...and he's our protagonist.
  • You Are What You Hate: As much as Lou dislikes Joe Loder, he's not above stealing his ideas and acting even worse than him.
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    Nina 

Nina Romina

Played By: Rene Russo

  • Deal with the Devil: With Lou being the Devil. Nina is forced to cave in to his increasingly insane demands, since his footage is the main thing keeping her career afloat.
  • Lack of Empathy: Encourages Lou to film gruesome crimes, showing no interest in the victims' suffering and only being concerned about her career and ratings.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Nina is an attractive older woman who has sex with the younger protagonist, though she is not the aggressor in their relationship.

    Rick 

Rick Carey

Played By: Riz Ahmed

  • Butt-Monkey: Much of his screen time is devoted to him screwing up while working for Lou and getting chewed out.
  • Deal with the Devil: With Lou playing the role of the Devil. It eventually ends poorly for him.
  • Genre Blind: Lou is Obviously Evil enough to give off hints to avoid him. Despite seeing how ruthless Lou is when collecting footage, he continues working for him. This was a fatal error.

    Joe 

Joe Loder

Played By: Bill Paxton

  • Dies Wide Open: While it is ambiguous as to whether he died or not, his final shot in the movie shows him lying all bloodied on a stretcher while being carried into the ambulance, staring nightmarishly into Lou and his camera filming him.
  • Jerkass: He's smug and arrogant, unlike Lou's Faux Affably Evil. At one point he tries to convince Lou to join his filming team and throws a temper tantrum when he refuses.
  • The Rival: Lou's most frequent competition for filming the "stories" he looks for.
  • We Can Rule Together: Tries to talk Lou into working for him and manning a new van he just bought. Lou vehemently tells him to fuck off.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Lou cuts the brakes on his car and he is involved in a collision, he's never seen again after being wheeled into an ambulance.
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