This may have to do with the themes the movie explores (a viewpoint is explained in this great answer) but it remains a question to me nonetheless.

The soundtrack made me uneasy. This was not a normal inspirational movie where a nobody becomes an important and influential person, it's about a nobody who becomes an influential person by having his assistant and probably his competitor murdered, killing empathy and morality along the way.

It may have been a satire on media but it never glorified those actions. In several scenes, Louis does some unethical things bordering on illegal (just as far away to absolve him) but the background was playing some upbeat this-is-an-inspired-LA music.

Why is Nightcrawler's soundtrack so upbeat? It's from James Newton Howard so it goes without saying that he knew what he was doing.

1 Answer 1


It seems that the writer, Dan Gilroy, wanted to bring out the humanity of the character rather than just portray him as a sociopath. He seems to have intended the music to be subversive, as he informed Howard to create "uplifting" music, rather than the "nightmarish score" that was probably expected. James Newton Howard told The New York Times:

But the goal was to use music see the scene from Lou’s eyes — that is, as a moment of great possibility for his career. “It really becomes an anthem of potential for his tremendous success,” Mr. Howard said. A more triumphant feel was in order.

“I think people could take that as an intentional miscue, but it really isn’t,” he said. “It was designed to orient people into understanding where he’s coming from as a character. And I think it’s key to the success of the score in the movie.”

Dan Gilroy told Consequence of Sound:

“It’s the music in his head,” Gilroy points out. “It’s a bit of a magic trick: As the music is creeping into your own head, it’s creating this feeling of eagerness and climbing the ladder and succeeding and trying and not giving up, all while you’re watching this maladjusted behavior get rewarded — it cements you to the character and his quest.” It’s a surreal effect that romanticizes Lou’s ambitions, making his story feel curiously tangible. Gilroy adds: “We’re alongside him in the car, and we’re on this exciting, adventurous experience. It’s awakening all the same things that you might feel when any of us are pursuing a goal.”


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