10/21/07

Be nice to me

Jake Gyllenhaal: big, sexy, cuddly goofballYes, I'm going to talk about what I thought of Rendition.

First, go read this interview with Jake from the Telegraph, done while he was in London. On the one hand, it has terrific elements than any good interview should: description of Jake's posture, clothing (guess which well-worn, big-necked ensemble?) and oh god, voice ("gentle with dark undercurrents"--can I cut that phrase out and put it under my pillow?), evidence that the writer has actually done some research, and questions pertinent to the reason they're both there: Rendition. On the other, it's full of extraneous stuff; recycled facts from that research I just mentioned, and a completely unnecessary probing into Jake's sexuality that proves the interviewer is one of those people who...well, he's one of those people. Plus either transatlantic flight made Jake two inches taller, or this guy just guessed it wrong. Everyone does says he seems taller than they imagined.

So, Rendition.

Jake, Gavin and Reese at the L.A. Rendition premiereI wish I could rave about it, say that it was unequivocally the best movie I've seen since Zodiac, but this isn't that kind of movie. I attended a Friday night showing and left the theater somewhat unsatisfied. Thinking it was probably due to all the pent up expectation, and the vaguely arctic temperature in the theater that made it hard to focus, I decided to see it again this afternoon. Besides, I really wanted another, undistracted look at Douglas Freeman. Hey, I'm nothing if not honest.

On second viewing, I did feel more involved in the story, but not as much as I thought I should have been. Maybe that's because I wanted it to be something it couldn't: a revelation. Unlike the majority of the intended audience, I have already read enough about the policy of extraordinary rendition and its purported place in the defense of national security. Rendition didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. At least this time, I did feel moved by several scenes, and my overall impression is that this is a movie that will grow on me with each additional viewing, much like Jarhead.

Jake honestly doesn't know how incredible he isWhat I can enthusiastically endorse is Jake's performance. My bias notwithstanding, it's a Hollywood irony that while few critics seem to know what the film's motives were, the role of Douglas Freeman struck me as typical Oscar fodder. WDW was right in that this really is Jake's movie, despite its trying to be so much more. His is the character that makes the biggest connection, who reveals multiple dimensions to the audience. All the performances were excellent, but for me no one shone like Jake with his flimsy professional facade after the bombing and barely-contained self-loathing during the events that follow. More than anything else, what I walked out of that theater feeling this afternoon was an intense pride. As with most of his movies, the box office numbers will be irrelevant; Jake Gyllenhaal has proved again that he is a phenomenal actor, and he'll have work in Hollywood for as long as he wants it.

All photos: IHJ.

7 comments

sass said...

I went to see Rendition this evening, after passing it up yesterday, because I was exhausted; maybe all the negative reviews were a bit off putting, though I almost never let critics dictate my movie choices. Too much Jaking can make a body nuts:)
Anyway, I'm glad I waited. Jake performance was phenomenal and unexpected. He's growing as an actor right in front of my eyes, though his height remains 6'0":) The rest of the cast made this one of my best movie evenings in a long time. I know members of certain segments of our population will not like this movie . . . it didn't tell us what we don't already know an etc. That's not the point, and they know it.
The interviewer points out that Jake has eclipsed his family professionally, which is true, however, Jake says he's not treated at home as if he's eclisped anyone, and is taken down regularly; he’s still the younger brother.
You and WDW have made this the most enjoyable, tiring Jake week of my life as a Jake fan.
Thank you
sass

Cherita said...

What a lovely complement, Sass! Thank you so much. What I do here doesn't even compare to the tireless efforts of the valiant WDW, but I'm glad that you enjoy following my journey as a hopeless Gyllenhaalic just taking it all in and sharing what I can.

I do think that most film critics don't know what to make of this movie because they don't know what it was trying to accomplish, so are assuming that because of that, it failed. I'd have to disagree--let me use the example of Hood's award-winning Tsotsi. I was sucked into that story even though I didn't know why I should care about a young thug and his attachment to the infant was hard for me to reconcile. Ultimately, at the film's conclusion, I was sobbing, and I still don't think it had one clear motive, other than to show audiences a human experience that they would never have considered. I didn't really like young Tsotsi, but I wasn't supposed to. He was human, and that's the point.

It's the point here as well, I guess. We as a society need to understand the value of humanity, something that can't be put into statistics or pie charts. :) Even if torture does work in some cases, is it worth the price? It's something we should decide--should have the right and the knowledge to decide--as a country. We've become the biggest hypocritical body in the world with our lip service to human rights and reputation as global police. I want to live in the America that practices what it preaches, and that place doesn't exist anymore.

BirdGirl said...

Ha I couldn't have said it better myself. I think that I am going to go see it again tomorrow. I am sure that I will get more out of it the second time. And I better go see it again soon because the numbers aren’t good (as I figured they wouldn't be). And I am afraid its days in the theater are numbered.

I am also sooo proud of him. I couldn't stop smiling for like an entire hour. That scene after the bombing was so intense and great. I think that it was the best scene in the movie. Other then his intro :). Didn't he just look fantastic?

He will get his Oscar one of these years. It just won't be this one.

Cherita said...

Ugh, typo above. Unfortunately spellcheck can't help you when you type "complement" instead of "compliment." :P

Anyway, yes, I definitely think you should see it again soon, and I'm so happy for you that the boyfriend ultimately made himself available! Do you mean the shirt, a plain shirt with no stripes, and...gum scene? I agree, he was absolutely incredible in it. He's always beautiful, of course, but he almost had a touch of the Holden Worther thing going in some scenes, a sort of...seediness, that went with the character's descent into alcohol.

I'm going to be seeing it at least once more, with my good buddy Charlene. :D After that, I fear, it will be gone, until DVD time.

I've long suspected that those random appearances of Reese driving Jake around had to do with a commentary track for the DVD. Only time will tell.

BirdGirl said...

Yeah it was a little like Holden. As you may know I have a thing for sad little Holden.


Henry was fucking awesome last night. We were dead center maybe ten rows back. WOW! He talked for about 3 hours (doesn’t he always). He told some great stories about visiting Syria. Such a class act.

ncwoman said...

I'm going to be seeing it at least once more, with my good buddy Charlene. After that, I fear, it will be gone, until DVD time.

YAYYY! And I'm SOOOO excited! Gotta admit to you, friend, it's been REALLY hard to wait until you get here, but I'm determined I'm gonna.

I only hope that with Rendition's dismal numbers, the powers-that-be at the theater it's playing at don't decide to yank the plug on it before you get here....*nervously biting nails*

But I won't even think about that...

Cherita said...

The thought had occurred to me, Char. But worst-case-scenario, we can go on Thursday night, before the theaters change their lineups. Please, though, do not wait on my behalf, because I sure as shit didn't wait for you! We do still need the spare panties, trust me.

BG, so glad you had a great time at Henry's show. Guess you didn't try to meet him after, huh? I still sort of kick myself about that. But I really don't know what I could have said to him, besides a very lame, Hey, man, you're great. His work has afforded him such a tremendous range of experience, he's been just about everywhere, and I think that's part of what draws me to him: his worldview is infinitely more developed than mine will ever be.