Movie Review: ‘Enemy’
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, and Sarah Gadon
Plot: A man meets a man who looks exactly like him.
As a big fan of Prisoners, I was very much looking forward to this re-team of director Denis Villeneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal, which was actually filmed before Prisoners. It stars Gyllenhaal as Adam, a timid quiet college professor. He just moved into a new apartment and has a beautiful girlfriend played by Melanie Laurent, who is more of a friend with benefits since they don’t seem to do a single thing together other than have sex. Based on the suggestion of a co-worker, he checks out some obscure movie only to see himself, who is actually an actor named Anthony Claire, also played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He is more sleazy alpha male type with a pregnant wife, played by Sarah Gadon, who is barely putting up with his shit anymore.
The DNA for Prisoners is evident. It starts out with Gyllenhaal giving a very lost-in-though quiet performance as Adam, but, even as a meek individual, the movie reeks of terror and anxiety. When he first sees Anthony, it takes an almost Hitchcockian turn. Adam becomes obsessed trying to locate his double, who just happens to be in the same city as him. Frustration and curiosity battle within Adam until he can finally comes face to face with Anthony. It is then when regret settles in Adam, but curiosity hijacks Anthony. Neither of their lives will ever be the same again.
It is a very artsy thriller, so nothing it does is straightforward. For one, it seems no secret (seriously the director has spoken about it) that Gyllenhaal sometimes seems like the only resident of the city. It makes the tone even more eerie. There is also an occasional sidetracks to strange visuals of spiders. Are they monsters invading the city? Something more sinister? More metaphorical, maybe?
Actually, I think that’s exactly right. It is all metaphorical. Enemy was a trip of a movie that left me thinking “WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH?” My immediate gut reaction was this movie sucks. It was on unsteady ground trying to hard to be twisty and ended just at the wrong part. I almost wrote a review eviscerating it.The rough draft has been sitting here waiting for me to finish for weeks, but I couldn’t get my thoughts straight. I couldn’t stop thinking about it either, just days on end trying to piece together the greater meaning of what I was seeing because there had to be something. I could tell you my theories, this article would be 10,000 words long. Plus I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Just know, this movie is not unfinished. It’s a rubix cube, and with patience you can figure it out. You might even come up with a truly fresh way of looking at it.