List by-Jarrett Leahy
My appreciation for Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the most consistent actors in the business, continues to grow year after year. Over the last decade, Gyllenhaal has made one great film after another. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us with his new thriller, Nightcrawler, which hits theaters later this month, as it appears he’s exploring his sinister side yet again. Making this list, I know there will be some that will find the omission of Donnie Darko and/or Prisoners to be glaring mistakes. But that just speaks to how many lauded movies Mr. Gyllenhaal has made. Be sure to vote for your favorite down below:
6. Zodiac (2007) For many movie fans, this film would be #1 on their Gyllenhaal list, and I can understand why. It is a skilled police procedural from famed director David Fincher about one of the most infamous serial killer cold cases in the history of our country. Also starring Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, Gyllenhaal, playing newspaper cartoonist turned amateur investigator Robert Graysmith, captures the obsessive mentality of a man who refuses to stop looking for the country’s most elusive killer.
5. Source Code (2011) A soldier is chosen to participate in a highly experimental program, hoping he can help identify the bomber a Chicago commuter train. Director Duncan Jones, son of rock legend David Bowie, has become one of Hollywood’s most promising young directors thanks to critical success of his first two efforts, Moon and Source Code. Gyllenhaal helps turn a film that could have come off as preposterous nonsense into a riveting, fast-paced sci-fi thriller that is as frantically gripping upon second and third viewings.
4. Enemy (2014) The creative partnership between Gyllenhaal and Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has given us Prisoners (2013) and this little gem of a mind bender. When Adam, a depressive History college professor, discovers an actor in a movie he’s watching who is identical to him, he decides to reach out and make contact. But soon, Adam discovers this man isn’t what he pictured him to be. Playing both Adam and Anthony, Gyllenhaal truly commits to the story’s creepy and ambiguous storyline that will either fascinate or frustrate. Enemy remains one of my personal favorites of 2014.
3. End of Watch (2012) Two LAPD officers discover the overwhelming power of the Mexican cartel when they bust one of their stash houses. Rarely has a buddy cop drama been so intensely raw and compelling as End of Watch. The genuine camaraderie exhibited between Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena and the adorable chemistry Gyllenhaal and actress Anna Kendrick share easily makes up for what I will openly admit is corny, cliché-ridden overacting from the L.A. gang members.
2. Brothers (2009) This isn’t the first time Brothers has received love on AmateurCinephile, and there is a reason; it is one powerful and engrossing POW film from Jim Sheridan, the director of My Left Foot and In America (two other films I absolutely love). Gyllenhaal plays the younger brother of a soldier who goes missing in Afghanistan. A gripping film that gets better with each viewing, Brothers is a movie that sticks with you.
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005) After all the snickering and short-sighted discontent, most movie fans who went into Brokeback Mountain with an open mind discovered a wonderful film with two unforgettable performances. While it was Ledger who received the majority of accolades (and rightfully so), Gyllenhaal was equally as impressive, earning his only Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. A truly masterful piece of cinema from Ang Lee, the outcry after this movie was robbed of the Best Picture Oscar by Crash has only grown over these last nine years. (When’s the last time you’ve even thought about Crash, let alone watched it, since 2005?)