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3-min read

Happy Birthday Jake Gyllenhaal: Six Spectacular Performances by the Actor Over the Past Decade

On Jake Gyllenhaal's 39th birthday, here is a look at some of his most iconic performances of the past decade that makes him so relevant after almost three decades in the industry.

Antara Kashyap | News18.com

Updated:December 19, 2019, 11:54 AM IST
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Happy Birthday Jake Gyllenhaal: Six Spectacular Performances by the Actor Over the Past Decade
On Jake Gyllenhaal's 39th birthday, here is a look at some of his most iconic performances of the past decade that makes him so relevant after almost three decades in the industry.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who turns 39 on December 19, 2019, has been one of the most influential actors in Hollywood. Jake, who debuted in 1991 as a child actor in Ron Underwood's City Slickers, went on to star in many acclaimed films like The Brokeback Mountain, Donny Darko, Love and Other Drugs, Zodiac - many of which became cult classics. Gyllenhaal's acting prowess has been time and again recognised by critics and audiences alike and his versatile filmography has showed that he has a great script sense.

What is special about an actor like Gyllenhaal is, he is never not relevant. By choosing the right kind of roles, he has managed to find a loyal audience amongst different generations of cinephiles. Even in the last decade, the actor has carefully taken up roles that matched with his talent, make him one of the most demanded actors in Hollywood. It also does not hurt that the actor does not shy away from experimenting much before his contemporaries do so. Like his famous paparazzi shot where he wore a T-shirt that read, "I was a gay cowboy before it was cool."

Here is a list of six spectacular Jake Gyllenhaal performances from the last decade that prove that his stardom is here to stay:

1. Enemy (2013): This neo-noir Hitchcockian thriller is about a history professor who spots his doppelganger in a film, seeks him out and secretly starts living his life. His second collaboration with Denis Villeneuve after Prisoners, Gyllenhaal gives two very different but equally enthralling performances that hold the audience's attention till the very last epic frame.

2. Nightcrawler (2014): Another neo-noir thriller film, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, which features Gyllenhaal as a petty thief who realises he can make money and a name for himself by documenting criminal activities. He goes to many shocking extents to do so. His role as the anti-hero, wannabe crime reporter who is obsessed with getting the most sensational images has often been compared to Robert De Niro's infamous Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for a Golden Globe for his terrifying Lou Bloom, and very narrowly missed out on an Oscar nomination.

3. Southpaw (2015): Jake Gyllenhaal's emotional rollercoaster Southpaw, a story of a boxer who hits rock bottom after the death of his wife. His portrayal of Billy Hope, the enraged boxer, who is also on the verge of losing his daughter was not only the result of his commendable physical transformation but also his incredible range of acting where he had to go from threatening to depressed to vulnerable. The film fully explores the talent Gyllenhaal is.

4. Stronger (2017): This David Gordon Green directorial on the life of athlete Jeff Bauman who lost both of his legs at the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 saw the actor give a splendid performance. In this all-timer performance by Gyllenhaal, we saw him carry us through a journey of highs and lows, of pain, tears, and laughter. Biopics are not an easy genre to perform in, especially when it is about the life of a real-life hero and a survivor. Not once did Gyllenhaal make us think he was not Jeff Bauman, with the sheer sincerity of his emotions reflected in his performance.

5. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019): This revenge-fantasy-horror-satire by Dan Gilroy about America's elites sees Gyllenhaal at his creepiest best. He plays Morf Vandewalt, an icy art critic who will call anything and everything in front of him mediocre, not sparing a casket in a funeral. The actor, like his Nightcrawler role, gives Morf all he has got and with ridiculous mannerisms fully immerses himself with the character. Gyllenhaal doesn't hold back, and no matter what people say about the film itself, his acting range in this film cannot be denied.

6. Spider-Man Far From Home (2019): A special mention to the last film of Marvel's Phase 3 infinity saga, as Gyllenhaal finds the most perfect character to enter the universe. His Mysterio in the first half is the kind-hearted friend, almost a father figure to the torn Peter Parker, and in the next the most menacing villain, who makes you surprised at how evil he can be -- even though you saw it coming from miles away. Jake Gyllenhaal's Marvel villain is so evil he makes a train trample a teenager. This villain could have almost been a hero, and unlike Loki, he is despicable and has no scope for growth. Even after his defeat, he doesn't stop creating trouble. Off-screen too, Gyllenhaal's chemistry with Tom Holland has been much talked about, and like we said earlier, his decision to enter the Marvel Universe via Mysterio will make sure he is relevant for another decade.

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