Jake Gyllenhaal Underrated Movies You Must Watch - VRGyani News and Media


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jake Gyllenhaal Underrated Movies You Must Watch

Jake Gyllenhaal made a career out of playing eccentrics and everyman roles that turn out to be everything but. From his earliest days, he always finds the heart of the character, diving deep into their most base motivations and using that firm foundation to ground his acting in whatever world he’s playing in. It’s impossible to ignore the amount of talent he has at his fingertips, and he’s taken on so many interesting and varied challenges that it’s easy to overlook some of his most interesting work.

So, here is a list of Jake Gyllenhaal movies that may have slid by unnoticed. Because they didn’t find themselves recognized, we find it necessary to shine a little light on them here.

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October Sky

In his first major film role, Jake Gyllenhaal goes toe to toe with some pretty talented adult actors, including Laura Dern and Chris Cooper, and holds his own in every frame. October Sky tells the story of a brave young man inspired enough by Sputnik to start building rocket ships with his friends. After a multitude of setbacks, Homer (Gyllenhaal) has to stand up to his own fear of failure, as well as his father, a problematic principal, and the force of law. October Sky is the perfect star vehicle for Gyllenhaal. He has a chance to use his expressive face to its most impactful, showing serious skill along the way. And standing alongside some truly excellent actors only helped to push him to greater and greater things.

The Day After Tomorrow

There is so much to love about The Day After Tomorrow. It’s not the first disaster movie, or even the best, but it offers a really interesting take on how Mother Nature may surprise us with a once-in-an-existence kind of weather event which could devastate large portions of the world. But even with such a large-scale disaster going on, The Day After Tomorrow delivers small character moments that make the whole movie hit with momentous force.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in this is so hopeful and nuanced that it belies a bit of the complex talent he has. So much of the film’s heart lies in his performance, both as a hero and as a damoiseau in distress. He has the most knowledge about the situation thanks to his father’s work in the field, but he knows there’s also only so much he can do on the ground in his situation. So we see Jake get to play both sides of the coin in a single, definitely underrated, movie.


Zodiac is one of those movies that is a little before its time in regards to appreciation. If Zodiac had been released even 3 or 4 years later (in 2010 or 2011) to coincide with the true-crime boom of the last decade, it may have been an absolute box office smash. Nonetheless, Jake Gyllenhaal shines as Robert Graysmith. He knows just how intensely to push and pull to get the most out of his co-stars. And he uses that intelligence and skill to propel Zodiac from a box office bomb to a cult classic. As a film that is revered in many different circles due to its care and precision with the story, but didn’t make much in the way of box office, it more than qualifies as underrated.

Source Code

While Source Code has its issues, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is not one of them. You’d think that a film that repeats the same 12 min cycle of events over and over again would be boring, but it just isn’t. And that is courtesy of Jake Gyllenhaal. The constant repetition puts this talented actor into a class all his own, simultaneously making each dive back into the fateful day’s events interesting and constantly increasing the tension looming over the entire exercise. There are certainly some odd moments and a plot hole or two that, if corrected, would make Source Code a better film overall, but there’s plenty to enjoy in this underrated gem, especially if you’re looking to watch Jake Gyllenhaal at his best.

End of Watch

Back in the found footage film boom, End of Watch crept into award show discussions, with the incredible performances from Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña earning nominations for Critics' Choice and Independent Spirit Awards, respectively. Considering this movie came out in 2012 and there has been a lot of discussion about policing in this country since, it feels different watching a day in the life of these two LAPD officers than it originally did. No matter what the time period, though, the acting in this film elevates the entire concept, and reminds us all why exactly found footage films can be so impactful.


If you missed the boat on Prisoners a few years ago, you’re not alone. While financially it seemed to perform satisfactorily, its early September release date gave it too much time to be left out of serious award considerations, managing to earn just one Oscar nomination for Roger Deakins' incredible cinematography. Nonetheless, this movie’s absolutely incredible cast — surrounding Gyllenhaal with Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, and Terrence Howard — and iconic, ambiguous ending, Prisoners is definitely worth a watch if you’re on the fence.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Last, but most certainly not least, is Velvet Buzzsaw. This movie is the perfect example of how Jake Gyllenhaal has carved himself a sizable niche in Hollywood, playing extreme, odd, and intense characters time and time again. His role in Velvet Buzzsaw as Morf Vandewalt anchors the film’s eccentric and dotty cast, despite his character’s own peculiarities. Whether or not you walk away "liking" Velvet Buzzsaw is almost perfectly in line with the film’s overall theme. The art critics and sellers in this film play Morf’s reviews as a kind of currency, despite his reactions to the art he’s reviewing not always standing up to moral scrutiny. Sometimes the art we like isn't exactly likable. So it’s easy to encourage you to give this film a chance. Its 114-minute runtime gives it just enough time to do some truly wild things you don't want to miss.

KEEP READING: 'Prophet' Comic Movie Adaptation in the Works From Jake Gyllenhaal and 'Extraction' Director Sam Hargrave

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