Movie Chat Top 10s: Jake Gyllenhaal

JG movie chat

So we’re already into the second month of 2016 and myself plus the lads from JumpCut UK, Nick & Jakob, have another Movie Chat Top 10 for you. So far we’ve given you our top 10 David Fincher movies, Pixar films and Most Anticipated Movies of 2016. This month we wanted to focus on an actor which all three of us love. There were a few names suggested and eventually we settled on Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal is easily one of the best actors working today, he’s such an interesting actor too; as you’ll see in our list he loves to pick interesting roles and isn’t afraid to alter his appearance either! So check out our list below and let us know what you think! 


#10. Everest (2015)

A film that received largely mediocre reviews makes our list of Gyllenhaal top 10 as a result of Nick enjoying it so much! A lot of people complained that it was a struggle to watch, difficult to make out what was happening, but for Nick that all added to the authenticity of this brutal, real life story. It’s a strong performance from an ensemble of actors (from those both well known and the more obscure actors) and although Gyllenhaal has a bit part here, but he shines in the time he’s on screen.


#9. Source Code (2011)

You may think a film about a guy who goes back in time over and over again, in an attempt to stop a terrorist plot, sounds rather fantastical and a little bit like a cheap action movie. Well, you’d be wrong! Jake Gyllenhaal makes any movie better in our opinion, but ‘Source Code’ also has a surprisingly interesting narrative and great supporting performances from Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan. Give ‘Source Code’ a chance and you might just want to watch it again and again.


#8. Jarhead (2005)

By the time of the release for Jarhead Gyllenhaal was really gaining momentum as an actor having starred in a few great movies prior. Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall & Spectre) ‘Jarhead’ transports us to the Middle East and into a group of marines desperate for some action in war. The film’s characters are the real selling point to the movie being easily likeable, none more so than Gyllenhaal’s character “Swoff”, and having such great chemistry. It’s not the most memorable war film we’ve ever seen but it does have something to say about the issue and it’s one of our favourite Gyllenhaal movies for sure.

The Day After Tomorrow

#7. The Day After Tomorrow (2005)

Gyllenhaal returns to the snowy environment of a disaster movie with Day After Tomorrow, a film that wasn’t overly well received at its time of release, but has become one of those classics that everyone has seen at least once (probably helped by it being on ITV2 near enough every week.) Yes the film is a bit silly and unbelievable in places, but it’s a fantastically enjoyable film that probably falls in the category of ‘Guilty Pleasure’ for more than care to admit it.

End of Watch

#6. End of Watch (2012)

You might have heard of a little film called ‘Suicide Squad’ coming out this year, well before his DC days, director David Ayer gave us police crime drama ‘End of Watch’, among others like ‘Fury’ and ‘Sabotage’. Starring alongside Gyllenhaal this time round was Michael Peña and talk about a likeable duo! The chemistry that these guys have as fellow police officers was just fantastic. Much like ‘Jarhead’, it was this chemistry that made the film so enjoyable to watch. Combined with this was some great drama and police action meaning that this crime drama will always be memorable for fans of both Ayer and Gyllenhaal.


#5. Southpaw (2015)

‘Southpaw’ is impressive for many reasons but one of the main reasons has to be Gyllenhaal’s dedication to the physicality of the role. Having just transformed himself for thriller ‘Nightcrawler’, here he has to put the weight and muscle straight back on to become boxer Billy Hope. As always Gyllenhaal is so convincing in his role and he carries this powerful sports drama effortlessly. It’s nothing groundbreaking and maybe even a little cliched but what does this matter if those cliches are done well? With great support from Rachael McAdams, Forest Whitaker and Oona Laurence ‘Southpaw’ is an essential boxing drama for any fans of the genre and especially for fans of Gyllenhaal.


#4. Donnie Darko (2001)

If it were up to Jakob, this would be a runaway winner, but his all-time favourite film will have to settle for fourth place in our list here. A film which has a bit of everything; drama, dark comedy, thrills and twists, ‘Donnie Darko’ will certainly get you thinking if nothing else. This was Gyllenhaal’s first big break into film, and how lucky we are that he was given the chance. If you haven’t seen this little gem of a film, get it watched quickly before Jakob gets angry.


#3. Zodiac (2007)

Jake Gyllenhaal may have to share the limelight on this occasion with co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, but this impeccable ensemble cast come together under the direction of David Fincher, to produce what is ultimately an underrated crime-thriller. Based on the real-life story of one of the most dangerous and elusive serial killers in American history, this film will shock you and intrigue for the entirety.


#2. Nightcrawler (2014)

One of the biggest snubs in recent Oscar history occurred in 2015 with the overlooking of Nightcrawler and the performance of Gyllenhaal as the lead character Lou Bloom. This dark and twisted film is not for the feint hearted, but shows off Gyllenhaal at his weird and unnerving best (not sure if that’s a compliment or not, but he sure is good at it). Despite being supported well by the rest of the cast, Gyllenhaal steals the show here and adds to a wonderfully crafted piece of cinema.


#1. Prisoners (2013)

If you’re a film fan then you probably saw ‘Sicario’ last year and hopefully you loved it, we certainly did. Director Denis Villeneuve showed us how he really is the master of creating tension, however this wasn’t the first time we’d seen this. Two years earlier Villeneuve brought us thriller ‘Prisoners’. Similarly here he creates fantastic amounts of tension and suspense. The drama of a kidnapping woven throughout this film meant that ‘Prisoners’ was an intense watch from start to finish. The film has an all star cast including Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard and of course Gyllenhaal. All the performances are fantastic and help to tell this dark but gripping story. Whilst ‘Prisoners’ isn’t maybe Gyllenhaal’s career best performance he’s still a joy to watch here and we think that this film is the best one he has starred in to date. With Gyllenhaal though his next classic is probably only a few years round the corner! We can’t wait to see what this guy does next!

So that’s our list but we want to know what your favourite Jake Gyllenhaal movie is!? Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over on our twitter accounts!



Written and edited by Nick Deal, Jakob Lewis Barnes & Hamish Calvert

Image Credit: Jakob Lewis Barnes


10 thoughts on “Movie Chat Top 10s: Jake Gyllenhaal

  1. He has been so brilliant in so many films of such a wide variety. It’s hard to pick a favourite as my top five are all such different types of film and therefore great for all very different reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so torn in my life 😉

    • haha, well personally (HC speaking) I haven’t seen Enemy yet so couldn’t include it in my list – it’s one I’ve been dying to see for ages though! I’ll take you outrage at the lack of it on this list as a very positive thing!

      • One of the very best films last year (UK), the year before (US release) and the year before that (Festival releases)! I can’t recommend it enough. Same director as Sicario and Incendies?! Watch it and let me know pal. Great list otherwise.

  2. Southpaw over End of Watch? Day After Tomorrow on the list?! Disgraceful! Haha kidding, great list (apart from those two little disagreements). I would also put Enemy on there like Movie Blort but that film’s not for everyone.

    • Personally I rank End of Watch at #2 but the other guys enjoy some of his other movies more so just! Enemy is also just one I haven’t seen yet. Don’t lie to yourself mate, you love a bit of TDAT 😉

  3. I was really surprised by how much I liked Prisoners and Jackman’s performance was very good in that too. Nightcrawler is my pick for Gyllenhaal’s best performance in recent memory. Good post!

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