Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

Nightcrawler

nighcrawler

Director: Dan Gilroy; Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill PaxtonRiz Ahmed;

Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) makes a living with capers, criss-crossing the line of legality, in a rather forlorn-looking Los Angeles. He is very single-minded about getting a stable, more lucrative job and, by chance, he stumbles upon the world of freelance cameramen, who hunt down shocking and gruesome accidents or crimes and then sell their footage to the local news channels. He starts small with a cheap camera and a police scanner, after getting a few tips by a pro, Joe (Paxton), and manages to get the attention of a news producer, Nina (Russo), of one of the local stations. Things are looking up for Louis, he makes more money and he hires a intern/assistant, Rick (Ahmed), to help him navigate the streets at night while chasing after police calls that sound promising. On paper, the story seems a straightforward American dream: underdog/down-on-luck guy finds a way to improve his lot using his skills and smarts. It turns out it’s far more complicated and layered and that’s what makes this debut film by Gilroy intriguing and thought-provoking. Right off the bat it’s clear that there’s something amiss with Louis, C3PO has better social skills and empathic reactions compared to him and, slowly but surely, the audience realises that he is indeed a sociopath. In his world people are just means to an end, to be used and discarded without any afterthought; sometimes they are even a nuisance since Louis has to convince them or charm them or threaten them to get what he wants. The nocturnal forays into the city hunting for crimes would already provide by themselves a grim view of modern life but combined with Louis’ unique personality make for a truly disturbing picture. I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers but it’s a dark tale. The film really works because of the superb performance of Jake Gyllenhaal: well-rounded, nuanced and with a sapient use of body language, impressive! The supporting cast is solid, in particular Ahmed as the trusting and little naive assistant, perfect foil to the sociopathy of Louis. Kudos to Gilroy, as first-timer on the director’s chair, he has done an impressive job. I look forward to seeing what he does next. Gripping —7.5/10

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Prisoners

Director: Denis Villeneuve, Main Cast: Hugh JackmanJake GyllenhaalViola DavisPaul DanoTerrence HowardMaria BelloMelissa Leo

Dark, grim thriller set in America’s suburbia in which, surprisingly, none of the characters is very likable. The peace and quite of Thanksgiving’s afternoon is shattered when two girls are gone missing. Hugh Jackman is the bereft father of one of the missing girl, who has an Atlas complex and also happens to be a control freak with daddy issues (it turns out to be a deadly combination). Maria Bello is his listless and submissive wife, who just fall into pieces. Terrence Howard and Viola Davis are the parents of the other missing girl who adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to the extreme measures taken by Jackman’s character to find his daughter. Jake Gyllenhaal is the local detective with stellar record but also a clear workaholic, rough around the edges and with a serious temper.  Paul Dano is the mentally challenged, creepy guy wrongfully (?) arrested because he was driving a battered RV and Melissa Leo is his “sweet” but jaded aunt. The film’s somber mood is accentuated by grey skies, pouring rain, snow and ice; the director uses the emptiness and the silence to increase the anxiety of the audience. We watch two men unravelling while they rush down different paths, looking for answers and hoping against hope to save the day. All the cast does a solid job but Dano and Leo are the real scene stealers: kudos! The director leaves us with a sort of open ending: nothing is really straightforward and, maybe, we are all prisoners…like rats in a maze.–7.5/10

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Source Code

Director: Duncan Jones, Main cast: Jake GyllenhaalMichelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga

If at first you don’t succeed…pretty nifty idea for a sci-fi movie that plays around with America’s latest nightmare: a terrorist’s attack on public transports. Technology may go even beyond its creator’s expectations or, maybe, there are just as many parallel universes as choices. Our hero (Jake Gyllenhall) overcomes the bad guy and his demons  and guess what? gets the girl. But, luckily, there’s also a little surprise. Interesting — 7/10

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