Why Does Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki Twitch in Prisoners? Does He Have a Tic?

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, ‘Prisoners‘ is an intriguing slow-burn psychological film that revolves around the abduction of two kids, Anna and Joy. The film is a fascinating study of characters that delves into the psyche of different people. While we see how Keller’s mind works and the rationale behind his actions, Detective Loki is a mystery. Detective Loki helms the case, but we do not know much about his background.

Loki’s demeanor and dressing style seem to indicate that he is a closed-off person. However, the audience does get a few hints into his personality via his tattoos and the eye twitch. In the movie, Detective Loki’s eyes twitch and blink more frequently than the average person, which makes the audience wonder if he has a condition or if it is a tic Jake Gyllenhaal adopted to essay the role. Well, allow us to appease your curiosity as we have a few thoughts on the matter.

The Twitch Reveals a Hidden Vulnerability in Loki

Jake Gyllenhaal’s eye twitch is a characteristic the actor adopted while reading the script. Detective Loki’s troubled childhood and the stress of being a cop contribute to his potentially anxious nature, which might cause his eyes to twitch. Jake Gyllenhaal realized that Loki asks many questions, which means a lot is going on in his mind. Considering we don’t see Loki talk much outside of work, the information overload would like to have an outlet somewhere.

While speaking to Backstage about how he suggested the idea to the director, he said, “Denis and I met at a diner in New York City, and I was like, ‘I have this idea! Let me try it out.’ And I started doing it.” Although the ‘Enemy’ director was hesitant initially, he trusted Jake’s insight and included it in the movie. Jake Gyllenhaal also explained why the eye twitch was important as Loki’s tic. Detective Loki asks a lot of questions in the film. The different branches of the case linger in his mind while he figures out the next steps. It seems like the job and the case, particularly, is stressful, and the eye twitch directly results from that.

In an interview with Indiewire, the ‘Nightcrawler‘ actor said, “The hardest thing for me as an actor is to ask questions. It always implies some sort out of overload somewhere else; you have to multitask.” He further explained, “I just had a feeling of what would someone do if they were overloaded.” If we try to dive deeper into the character, the eye twitch might reflect the character’s past.

In real life, there are numerous reasons for eye twitch, including eye strain and stress. Detective Loki is prone to stress, considering the stakes in the abduction case. In fact, he also has to keep a close watch on Keller, who is aggressive and becomes a vigilante to find his daughter. Although this explains the eye twitch to a great extent, what if there’s more?

Body and facial twitching is a symptom of anxiety, and eye muscles are commonly affected by twitching too. Here’s where Detective Loki’s past might come into play. While talking about the film with Screen Slam, Jake Gyllenhaal said, “Detective Loki, I think, was somewhat of a juvenile criminal himself. He was orphaned pretty young, and I know that he doesn’t have parents that he knew.” He also describes how he went to a boys’ home before joining the police force.

Loki’s experiences might have caused him to be an anxious person while growing up. In the film, the detective seems on edge but remains restrained. Loki might likely be generally anxious due to his past. All these details act as pieces to the puzzle that Detective Loki is. Thus, to reiterate, Loki’s stress while investigating the case and his potentially anxious nature cause his eyes to twitch.

Read More: Are Jake Gyllenhaal’s Tattoos in Prisoners Real? What Do They Mean?