GIMME FIVE: Jake Gyllenhaal Characters

BY ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI

Prisoners hits theatres this weekend (so excited — heard it’s ah-mazing!), and with that in mind we’re looking at some of the other awesome characters the handsome Jake Gyllenhaal has played over the years.

(Full disclosure: While I totally have a mad crush on Jake, I had to IMDB his movie resume because I confuse him with Tobey Maguire more than any normal person should. I don’t know why I do — I don’t really find Tobey attractive — but, alas, their serious face looks so similar I forget who was in which movie. For shame.)

5) Jimmy Livingston, Bubble Boy

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Young Jake Gyllenhaal at his finest! Jimmy is born without an immune system, forcing to live his adolescent life in a bubble (both literal and figurative), alongside his super-religious helicopter mom. When his neighbour (whom he’s head-over-heels in love with) tells him she’s running off to marry her boyfriend, Jimmy decides to build a mobile bubble and set off to stop the wedding and win over the girl of his dreams. Jake is so cute and geeky as Jimmy. The movie wasn’t totally amazing, but a young, dorky Jake totally is.

4) Dastan, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

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Based on the video game of the same name, Prince of Persia tells the story of Dastan, a runaway prince who has to save the world with the help of a magical dagger (and a beautiful princess, of course) that helps him to rewind time. This movie did not do well, which is kind of unfortunate because Jake was pretty good in it. While the storyline holds up fine as a video game, it totally fell flat in the flick, and other than Jake, was poorly casted.

3) Anthony Swafford,  Jarhead

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Jarhead got very mixed reviews when it was released in 2005, being deemed slightly boring as a “war movie” while not providing enough emotional impact given the subject matter of Desert Storm. Honestly, I thought this was fantastic, showing a more realistic approach to how the U.S. Marines lived and interacted when they weren’t actually fighting.

Jake plays Swofford, a U.S. Marine who goes enlists in the army after a bad experience in college. While this is sort of the role you’d expect to see him in, it doesn’t quite demonstrate his flexibility. However, he does totally show what can happen to your life when you enlist in the army and try to come back years later and expect everything to be normal. Bottom line: some of the soldiers look bored and slightly damaged after blowing things (and people) up, but Swofford provides the audience with an alternative to the arrogant bad boy soldier who saves the day role that we’ve seen played out in far too many war movies.

2) Jack Twist, Brokeback Mountain

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How to even begin with this movie and this role?

This flick was so controversial, due to it being centred on a gay couple, and the fact that it hit so close to home for the time and place that it was set (mid-1970’s Midwest, where homosexuality was frowned upon). Gyllenhaal plays Jack, a man who, after a night of heavy drinking, comes on to his friend and co-worker Ennis (the amazing late Heath Ledger). The two go on to have an on-again, off-again affair until the relationship ends tragically.

Both Gyllenhaal and Ledger were phenomenal in this movie, showcasing an emotional relationship that is both beautiful and toxic at the same time, and so deserving of their Oscar noms.

1) Donnie Darko, Donnie Darko

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This flick is a fave among some of us filles, thanks to its out-of-the-box dark storyline and warped sense of humour. Jake plays Donnie, a teenage boy who is visited by a demonic-looking bunny who tells him that the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds (he’s a very precise bunny).

While this movie is certainly not for everyone (it can be hella confusing and a little eerie at times), Donnie is played so well. He’s nerdy, he’s kind of funny, and he’s so freaking weird — and it totally works. The film truly shows how versatile Jake Gyllenhaal can really be. (Also, this is a great pre-Halloween flick or if you’re in the mood for something dark and twisted.)

 

Honourable mention goes to Jake’s role as Robert Graysmith in Zodiac. That movie is awesome, as is Jake in it. Check out fille Emily’s post on it here!

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