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The 9 essential Jake Gyllenhaal movies that make him perfect for Batman


Rumour has it that DC superhero epic Justice League will mark Ben Affleck's final appearance as Batman – and tipped to replace him is the mercurial and brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jake is no stranger to this: back in 2003 he was poised to take on the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 after Tobey Maguire did his back in, although he eventually recovered. But this time it could be the real deal: Collider indicates that Jake has met with The Batman director Matt Reeves, which may be an indication that the "Hitchcockian" solo adventure is set to reboot the Dark Knight from the ground up.

"That is the name that was floated," says journalist John Campea. "There has been some conversations, but it's not a sure thing this is happening. It's not a lock, it may not happen."

Whilst we wait for official confirmation we thought we'd round up Jake's greatest roles that make him the perfect choice to take on the role of tormented Bruce Wayne.

Donnie Darko

Released: 2002

The lowdown: The movie that put our Jake on the Hollywood map, this bizarre and intoxicating fusion of coming-of-age story, hallucinatory horror and time-travel head-trip immediately established itself as a cult classic. Gyllenhaal excels as eponymous, troubled teen Donnie, an adolescent having to negotiate more than just the perils of high-school and girls; in fact he's often confronted with the demonic spectre of a man in a sinister bunny suit called Frank.

Brokeback Mountain

Released: 2005

The lowdown: Jake landed his first Oscar nomination for his powerful role as lovestruck American cowboy Jack Twist in Ang Lee's sweeping drama. Proving himself the equal of co-star Heath Ledger, here playing Twist's great love Ennis Del Mar, Gyllenhaal is utterly convincing as a man who cannot speak what's in his heart for fear of recriminations. That the movie and the actors were robbed at the 2006 Oscars is shameful.


Released: 2007

The lowdown: Director David Fincher's utterly engrossing, ripped-from-the-headlines serial thriller recounts the trio of men – a cartoonist, a cop and a journalist – who found their lives consumed by the hunt for the notorious real-life Zodiac killer. Gyllenhaal brings quiet intensity to the role of the aformentioned cartoonist Robert Graysmith, on whose bestselling book the compelling movie is based.

Source Code

Released: 2011

The lowdown: Proving that he's got the heroic leading man chops to go with his versatility, Gyllenhaal is here earnest, sweaty and palpably convincing as a man caught in a dangerous time loop. Seemingly destined to keep blowing up on an ill-fated Chicago commuter train, his character Colter Stevens must utilise the source code computer programme to keep venturing back in time and crack the mystery.

End of Watch

Released: 2012

The lowdown: David Ayer's quasi-documentary drama utilises the found footage approach to immerse us in the lives of two everyday Los Angeles cops as they bust criminals and tumble headfirst into a conspiracy. That the film resounds with such conviction is largely due to the performances of Gyllenhaal and co-star Michael Pena as our two boys in blue, essentially decent guys confronting rampant violence on an almost daily basis.


Released: 2013

The lowdown: Denis Villeneuve, director of Sicario and Blade Runner 2049, announced himself to the wider world with this disturbing story of a child kidnapping in suburbia. Gyllenhaal plays the troubled cop put in charge of the investigation and the darkness the actor conveys is gripping to watch; the sequences involving him and Hugh Jackman as the child's father also crackle with tension.


The year: 2014

The lowdown: What's better than a Jake Gyllenhaal movie? One where he plays two people of course. Reuniting with Denis Villeneuve, the actor here delivers a genuinely disquieting dual turn as a man who becomes convinced he has a doppleganger – but what's the truth? Brilliantly conveying the subtle differences between the two outwardly identical men, Gyllenhaal gives one of his best performances.


Released: 2014

The lowdown: If we're talking career bests, it would be hard to top Jake's utterly skin-crawling and mesmerising performance as a bottom-feeding, ambulance-chasing journalist, or 'nightcrawler', in Dan Gilroy's thriller. With his disconcerting, insect-like body language and drastic weight loss, Gyllenhaal creates an unforgettable monster, one demonstrating his commitment to even the most unsavoury characters.


Released: 2015

The lowdown: If he was memorably repellent in Nightcrawler, Jake's bulked-up appearance as down-and-out boxer Billy Hope in Southpaw is sure to make men everywhere feel emasculated and insecure. Not only showcasing physical commitment, Gyllenhaal here gets right inside the imploding mindset of a man on the edge after losing everything, a role as emotionally exhausting as it is viscerally bruising.

If you're missing your Jake Gyllenhaal fix don't forget he returns to our screens on 8th December in powerful Boston bombing drama Stronger. Take a look at the trailer below and share your favourite Jake Gyllenhaal roles @Cineworld.