For the first actor in this series, we present to you some of the most powerful performances of Jake Gyllenhaal. Having created a niché for himself in the acting fraternity with an amazing range of roles under his belt, we feel that he deserves a lot more appreciation than he has garnered until now.
Movies known for: Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, Source Code, Prince of Persia
Here are some of his more amazing characterizations:
Let’s be honest here, when you read the name you immediately thought of the Nightcrawler from the X-Men franchise. Well, sorry to disappoint you. This film is not remotely connected to any mutant.
Nightcrawler is a crime thriller unlike anything else you might have seen up till now. Revolving around a highly resourceful young unemployed guy who is willing to do almost anything, even illegal, to make ends meet. Through stealing and pawning various items, he gets his hands on a police radio and a camcorder. What starts with beginner’s curiosity soon turns into an obsession as he follows Police deployment on the radio and uses his cam-corder to shoot carjackings, murders, arrests, etc. As the realisation dawns that the News channels would pay a hefty sum in exchange for such recordings, he becomes a freelancer regularly shooting crimes and bringing in the footage to the media.
This newfound career soon turns into an obsession as the precious footage becomes the only aim in his life, making him lose all sense of morality. Jake’s portrayal of a psychotically obsessed man is brilliant. To become convincing and display a ravaging hunger in his eyes, he lost more than 30 pounds and found a much leaner and gaunt look for himself which added more authenticity and menace to the character.
A directorial debut for Screenwriter Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler is one of the most stark portrayals of the life of Photojournalists and how easy it is to become obsessed with the camera while losing empathy for everything else.
Here’s a take about the film from Director Dan Gilroy and Jake:
Dan Gilroy and Jake on Nightcrawler (Spoiler Alert)
How do you even begin to describe a film which is at first glance seems like a psychological drama, then teeters between what may be fantasy or even science-fiction ? Donny Darko carves a space of its own through its dark symbolism and mind-bending screenplay.
Jake plays a teenager called Donny Darko who is riddled with nightmares of a person named Frank who wears a creepy rabbit costume and keeps telling him about impending doom resulting in the end of the world. As an audience you keep trying to decipher this outrageous prophecy being conveyed in such a weird fashion and tend to dismiss it as wild rants of a troubled teenage mind. As the story unfolds, it steadily spills out of fantasy into reality and starts affecting his family and the people around him.
Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of a strange teenager who is always hearing voices and is battling an internal conundrum about what’s real and what’s not is deeply unsettling and powerful. Trying to make sense of his “visions” he starts exploring books on time-travel, as if symbolically trying to make his ideas fit into a world which loathes imagination.
Since its release, Donny Darko has gathered a cult following with attempts at explaining time-travel through the context of the movie, analysed section by section by various online communities. One of the best analyses that we could find is from the following website which provides an amazingly detailed explanation:
Donnie Darko Explained (Spoiler Alert)
This one is a must watch for the ones who love to decipher open endings and try to fit in their own interpretations.
You may or may not know about this film depending on the depth and effort you take to dig up non-mainstream films which challenge you to no end. If there is a definitive list of mind-f*ck endings, this would make it to the Top 5 for sure and deservingly so. The very premise of the film is so baffling that you would find numerous videos on YouTube wracking their brains out trying to explain the course of events that lead upto the end and yet not convincingly so.
Directed by Dennis Villeneuve who gave us Sicario this year, Enemy is based on José Saramago’s novel called The Double which revolves around the lives of two different men who look disturbingly alike but have polar personalities. One of them is a college professor while the other is a movie star. Neither of them know of each other’s existence owing to their widely varied careers but the professor stumbles across a film having his doppelgänger as an actor. As the initial shock sinks in, he stalks the actor and finally meets him in a hotel. Sound intriguing yet ?
Now don’t get too comfortable with this deceptively simple description. The film is interspersed with erotic and, at times, violent imagery which flashes throughout the film leaving you grappling for an explanation and the symbolism behind it. You keep asking – Who is this enemy we are talking about ? And what is the relevance of those flashes of eroticism ?
Jake has a knack of getting into weirdly complex characters who are difficult to even define let alone enact from an actor’s point of view, yet his seeming penchant for offbeat subjects has made him perfectly suited for playing these kinds of characters and storylines.
Of the many possible explanations of this film, we found Youtuber Chris Stuckmann’s explanation quite convincing and interesting. Check it out here:
Enemy Explained (Spoiler Alert)
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