Hi, Bryan Here….
Director Denis Villeneuve is on a roll here. Denis worked with Jake Gyllenhaal on the hit movie last year called ‘Prisoners‘, which starred Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano, and Terrence Howard. But not a lot of people know that Denis and Gyllenhaal filmed a movie right before they started ‘Prisoners‘, but has not been released until now. That film is called ‘Enemy‘, and it completely hypnotized me for the entire 90 minutes.
Based on the 2002 novel called ‘The Double‘ by Jose Saramago, ‘Enemy‘ is a very haunting film and will leave you guessing as to what you just watched. Add to that, you won’t be able to get it out of your head as this doppelganger thriller will hook you in its unforgettable opening scene and never let you go. The tone is dark and brooding as are the characters. Hell, even the setting, which is Toronto, Canada has a mysterious and ominous glow to it as if monsters were to live there. I really wish this movie had a wider release schedule, but unfortunately it does not. But that’s not all bad, as if you can’t find this playing at a theater in your hometown, you can most certainly find it on VOD. I highly suggest you do so.
The opening scene is straight from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘, as we focus in on a bearded yet suave man (Gyllenhaal), who is sitting with several other men while women perform sexual acts on stage. One of the women brings out a covered silver platter dish, and when she removes the top, a big hairy tarantula crawls out, only to be squished by a woman in high heels. The entire scene didn’t seem real. We cut to Gyllenhaal again, who is now called Adam Bell, who is a nervous and quiet history professor, who seems to just go through the motions with his students, but never takes an active role in their lives. He seems to be depressed as he comes home to his almost empty apartment, grades papers, has boring sex with his girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent), and never smiles. This is his routine day in and day out.
One of his colleagues recommends a romantic comedy film for him to see, and when he watches the film, he notices that one of the actors looks very similar to himself. In fact, they look identical. This of course seems odd so Adam writes down the actor’s name, which is Anthony St. Claire does some research and eventually finds his number and address. Adam calls Anthony to have his wife Helen (Sarah Gordon) answer the phone, thinking it’s her husband Anthony, as they have the exact same voice.
Helen then tracks down Adam and is shocked at how similar the two are, and we the audience are surprised on how much Mary and Helen look alike despite one of them being very pregnant. Eventually, Anthony and Adam meet up and find out they are indeed similar from their hair to their scars on their bodies. And when Adam visits his domineering mother (Isabella Rossellini), she lets us in to some very vague clues as what is at work here, which is something much bigger than we could have imagined.
For us as an audience, we must navigate Adam’s puzzle through his monstrous nightmares and sexual dreams. It might not make sense, but it all seems very familiar and with a complete shock ending that would make every cult director giddy, ‘Enemy‘ will not soon leave you mind. Gyllenhaal plays double duty here very well as he plays a nervous wreck of a man who may or may not be on the verge of climbing a clock tower if you know what I mean. On the other hand, he also plays a suave slime ball here too who can talk his way out of anything. And Denis’s camera is like an acid trip as we journey through this dark and twisted maze of identity and truth.
The score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans is similar to ‘The Shining‘ with a very eerie and scary sound throughout the entire film that constantly reminds us there is no good that can come of these characters and that there is something evil lurking around every corner. ‘Enemy‘ is quite an amazing film, one that will haunt you for weeks on end.
4.5 out of 5 STARS