Jake Gyllenhaal caught up with his past in “Presumed Innocent” on Apple TV+

Jake Gyllenhaal caught up with his past in “Presumed Innocent” on Apple TV+
Jake Gyllenhaal caught up with his past in “Presumed Innocent” on Apple TV+

He was one of the last resistance fighters. Of these headliners who have not yet (really) given in to the sirens of the all-powerful platforms and the serial format, preferring until now to concentrate their forces on the 7th art, which he also points out to us in passing like his ” great love “.

But at 43, Jake Gyllenhaal (revealed in 2005 in The Secret of Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor) explains to us that he fell in love with this legal mini-series.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that there are so many different possibilities to practice my profession »

And the opportunity to work with masters of the genre, David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, La Défense Lincoln) and JJ Abrams (Lost), was clearly decisive: “They are giants in their field and I really wanted to learn alongside them. I have always been fascinated by the fact that there are so many different possibilities to practice my profession: the theater, the big screen, but also the small… Now, I think it was the right time for me to rub shoulders with it. Especially since when I read the pilot episode of Presumed Innocent, I was immediately captivated. And torn by an immense desire to know what happens next. I told myself that if I felt that way right away, it was a pretty good sign! »

In this story loosely adapted from the eponymous novel by Scott Turow (published in 1987), Jake Gyllenhaal is Rusty Sabich, the deputy city attorney of Chicago, to whom everything seems to be smiling. A (seemingly) united family, a comfortable situation symbolized by a house with a swimming pool, and as a bonus a reputation that is well established.

But while he is enjoying a sunny afternoon at home with his family, his life is turned upside down: a phone call interrupts an impromptu baseball game with his son and suddenly tells him of the murder of his colleague, the beautiful and ambitious Carolyn Polhemus. A woman with whom he had a torrid affair and who almost blew up his relationship.

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Particularly disturbing fact: the conditions, both appalling and twisted, in which she was murdered are reminiscent of a homicide case that they had investigated together a few years earlier… Quickly, the lawyer becomes suspicious. But even if everything seems to weigh him down, he will fight to preserve his marriage as much as his career.

Beyond the suffocating suspense, the quality of the series rests essentially on the masterful acting of the actor. From start to finish, the actor portrays this complex and tortured character that a succession of bad choices ended up leading to the edge of the precipice. He grasps all its contours, nuances and paradoxes, notably its (very) complicated relationship with women…

A sum of emotions which follow one another throughout the eight episodes and which he manages to transmit from the first minutes. “That’s what the joy of acting is: having the chance to explore all these different feelings,” says Jake Gyllenhaal. There is something magical there that can transcend you. And then, it’s always easier when you have very good actors in front of you, which is the case here. »

The impeccable distribution contributes to making this production a very high level thriller

The cast, in fact, is impeccable and contributes to making this production a very high-level thriller. Special mentions to Bill Camp (recently seen in A man, a real man), perfect as a suspicious colleague with his big voice and his piercing gaze, to Ruth Negga (Passing), who plays Sabich’s desperate wife, but also Renate Reinsve, the murdered ex-lover: unknown to the general public, the 36-year-old Norwegian bursts the screen by appearing in the form of a flashback, which gives in a certain way the general tempo of the story.

Note that the story had already been adapted in 1990, on the big screen this time, with Harrison Ford in the lead role. A mixed adaptation from which Jake Gyllenhaal did not wish to draw inspiration: “I had seen the film a long time ago, but I didn’t want to watch it again. Because for me the real reference was the book. This was also David’s will. E. Kelley: tell and adapt this story, not that of the film…”

Twenty-four years after Alan J. Pakula’s feature film, David E. Kelley and JJ Abrams (brilliantly) dusted off a plot that hasn’t aged a bit. Quite the contrary, as the values ​​and issues addressed are universal and timeless: double lives, lies, betrayals, so many ingredients here perfectly distilled to promise this political-judicial thriller (which is also a love story) establish itself as a true reference of the genre.


Presumed Innocent ***, by David E. Kelley and JJ Abrams, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Camp, Ruth Negga and Renate Reinsve. 8 episodes of 52 minutes. Available on Apple TV+.

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