At one point in the film Nightcrawler, the scene is a morning in Los Angeles, possibly the only morning scene in the film where the hero is not watching television.

Plotwise, the scene is positioned after the hero and heroine are at a Mexican restaurant, and the hero seems to proposition her.

For a few seconds the scene includes two large balloons with anthropomorphic features. These have been set up outside presumably for a promotion. They snap and flex in the wind.

Are the gyrations of these balloons a suggestion that the hero and female lead have enjoyed a tryst? Or something else? Or just a random shot to portray life in LA?

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    Huh.. I did not notice that at first viewing! See also this image taken at 1:52:49 of both of the 'flailing figures' just before the screen grab you included. Got to admit that I took the uplifting classical music and serene scenes of LA at dawn to express Lou's satisfaction of.. Yes! Totally won than that one. But the 'flailing floppy figures' certainly underline it. Jul 21, 2015 at 0:55
  • The "hero"? Uh... how is he a hero?! Jan 13, 2016 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Instead of looking at the significance of just the green airdancer, let's look at the entire scene with the airdancer. We get a very lively microcosm of LA: the morning mist at dawn, sprinklers watering a golf course, people exercising at a park, a bright ferris wheel with neon lights, and airdancers making chaotic movements. What all these scenes have in common is life. Even the music is uplifting during this scene. All this life is meant to contrast and really emphasize how dark and loathsome Louis's life is. This is similar to the literary device known as foil, except we are not contrasting characters, we are contrasting scenes.

The scene preceding the airdancer is that of Louis forcing Nina to have sex with him. The scene following the airdancer is that of Louis and his partner missing the big plane crash, and soon after, Louis has his episode in the bathroom. The airdancer scene is nothing like these two scenes, and as you mentioned before, the airdancer scene takes place during the day and the two sandwiching scenes take place during the night.

At face value, airdancers are devices that places of business use to get people's attention. They make a lot of movement and are usually of vibrant color. Airdances don't blend into their environment, they stand out. Sometimes they stand out enough so that people will go into the place of business and buy things. So perhaps you could argue that the airdancer is symbolic to Louis, as they both share the quality of trying to sell things and not being "normal".


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