Films featuring
Jake Gyllenhaal

Zodiac

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During its theatrical release, David Fincher’s Zodiac was at least partially marketed as some kind of slasher film from the director of Se7en. This probably accounts for its low numbers at the box office, since the slasher movie crowd is definitely not the target audience for this movie, which has more in common with All the President’s Men than it does with Fincher’s 1995 serial killer movie.

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Brokeback Mountain

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Who would have guess that they could make a movie about gay sheepherders and people would flock to see it? Sorry, but that’s about the only Brokeback Mountain joke that I have not heard in the last eighteen months. I will admit that I went into this film with a degree of skepticism, fearing that it would be an earnest, self-conscious “message movie.” I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a carefully observed study of two sharply drawn individuals in a doomed relationship and how that relationship impacts their lives.

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Jarhead

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Jarhead is a film about the other harsh reality of war, the tens of thousands of soldiers who endure endless days and weeks of crushing boredom, loneliness and deprivation, only to never get the chance to use the skills that they’ve often spent years honing. Anthony “Swoff” Swofford (Jake Gyllenhall) was a Marine Scout-Sniper during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He lives and breathes for that one perfect head-shot during a shooting war. “I want the pink mist,” he tells us, referring to the blood spray that results from a 7.62mm slug passing through a human cranium.

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Proof

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John Madden’s adaptation of David Auburn’s stage play examines the situation of a young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) living under two long shadows cast by her recently deceased father (Anthony Hopkins). Robert, the father, was a unparalleled math genius and Catherine, the daughter seems paralyzed by the pressure to follow in his footsteps. Robert was also crippled by severe schizophrenia that virtually ended his teaching career and Catherine fears the genetic legacy of her father’s mental illness.

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