Jake Gyllenhaal Collection (Donnie Darko, Moonlight Mile, The Good Girl, Proof)
Compiled by Jack Foley
JAKEGyllenhaal has fast become one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood and one of the most sought-after.
In 2006 alone, UK cinemagoers saw him in the Oscar-nominated ‘gay cowboy’ drama Brokeback Mountain and Sam Mendes’ Gulf War movie, Jarhead.
But Gyllenhaal has a CV packed full of memorably diverse roles – four of which have been compiled for a special DVD release to celebrate the work of this great actor.
The four films in question are Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut, Moonlight Mile, The Good Girl and Proof.
Here is a brief snapshot of what each is about and why they would make a worthwhile addition to any collection…
It’s difficult to pigeonhole Donnie Darko, so genre-busting a movie is it. Whether a sci-fi fable in the tradition of Repo Man (1984), or a plain old satirical take on ordinary American suburbia, Richard Kelly’s weird and wonderful offbeat debut benefits no end from its flight of pure and imaginative fantasy.
By the way, don’t try and be clever first time round. Just enjoy. You’re guaranteed to find the film a little more digestible, if not even funnier, next time.
Set in 70’s New England, it pitches Joe Nast (Gyllenhaal) as a young man struggling to come to terms with the recent murder of his fiancée. He’d just moved in with her parents, Ben and Jojo (Hoffman and Sarandon), and determines to stay and support them through their loss at the expense of his own future fulfilment.
Matters complicate when he falls in love with a local postgirl, Bertie Knox (Ellen Pompeo), herself emotionally torn by the apparent loss of her boyfriend; missing for three years in Vietnam.
Gyllenhaal is also mesmerising and extremely watchable. With better material, he’s destined to steal many a film from under the noses of bigger stars.
The Good Girl
Friends star, Jennifer Aniston, finally breaks away from her Rachel Green TV persona to star as a discontented 30-year-old who longs for a more fulfilling life than the one she currently leads with her husband.
The result is a quirky, offbeat black comedy in which the actress excels, turning in the type of performance that has prompted talk of an Oscar nomination, while also providing the more discerning viewer with plenty of food for thought.
Her depressed Retail Rodeo worker, Justine, is a million miles from her jovial Central Perk-dweller, coming across as a hopelessly frustrated loner who yearns for some sort of release from the banality of her hum-drum life.
Desperate to get pregnant, but equally keen to flee the boredom of her marriage with her house-painter husband, Phil (John C Reilly) and his ever-present best friend, Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson), Justine seeks refuge in the arms of a soul-mate co-worker, Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal), a creative, passionate young man who offers her the chance of escape.
But Holden brings with him his own set of problems and as their affair intensifies, so does his obsession, creating a chaotic web of blackmail, larceny and love that forces Justine to choose between doing what is right and wrong.
HAVING enjoyed considerable success with Proof on the West End stage Gwyneth Paltrow now takes on the role in film form…
...Of the performers, Paltrow portrays melancholy very well but sometimes feels heavy-handed in her depiction of Catherine’s chaotic mental state, while Anthony Hopkins is good without ever feeling as though he is really stretching himself.
Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, injects proceedings with some much-needed charisma, building on the good work he has recently done in both Brokeback Mountain and Jarhead, without ever being allowed the screen-time he merits…
...But while his film just about works on a human level, it tends to leave you feeling as emotionally drained as its performers.