Time to Dance could mean so many things, particularly when it comes to a psychopathic Jake Gyllenhaal going on a killing spree. The frantic pace of the song that seems to dominate the short film is perfect for depicting the manic state that he seems to be in, but also downplays the craziness that has to be thrumming in his mind during the entire thing, as the character of course. Given how deep he an go into his characters it’s hard to know sometimes if he really has to step it down after a role or if it he can just turn it on and off as he wants. Acting at times seems like it’s something that might be hard to do when it comes to differentiating the character your’e playing from the person you really are.
Gyllenhaal is obviously not a psychotic killer in real life, but he plays such a convincing one in this short film that thinking that he could flip at any time and turn that dark stare on someone with the intent of ending their life is kind of creepy. Think about life as a dance, you have to depend on your partner to lead, or to look to you to lead. In this particular dance Jake is doing the leading, but his partners don’t know it until it’s too late. The intermissions between each dance number are punctuated by his own ability to simply turn the mania off it seems, though as the film goes along it seems like his need for blood continues to rise and rise until it becomes an obsession and not so much a desire. It’s been said by veterans coming home from war, those that grew too used to the mayhem and horror of their particular wars, that killing grows horribly easy the more often one does it.
The type of PTSD this can bring can be very different for each person, but in this case it seems like Jake’s is more of a mania than any debilitating effect that might stop him from picking the next target. At some point the dance, the kill, will consume a person. They will become the monster without ever knowing just how far down the rabbit hole they’ve gone, and yet they will find a strange sense of peace that will make it all right at certain moments. The frantic nature of the dance will cease for a time every now and again, and the murder and bloodlust will seem far away for a time, leaving them in a state of reflection that is not psychotic nor even catatonic in any way, but thoughtful.
I don’t pretend to know the mind of a killer, but many of us have felt the mania that has touched all of us at some point in our lives. The severity of it varies from person to person, but the thoughts that enter our heads can’t often be stopped once they come and in fighting them we simply give them more power over us. But by accepting them, there’s no telling how the dance will go.
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