★★, Reviews
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Enemy

enemy

  • Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
  • With: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gordon
  • 90 Minutes

Based on the novel “The Double” (“O Homem Duplicado”) by the Portuguese writer José Saramago, “Enemy” is a psychological thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”). Since the movie earned five Canadian Screen Awards included Best Picture and Best Director and since it was based in a novel written by a Portuguese author I decided to give it a shot. The story is a bit complex and there’s a lot of symbolism in the middle of it which made it really hard or even impossible to understand. Basically a college history professor, Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), decides to rent a movie called “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way”, on the recommendation of a work colleague and while watching it he notices an actor who looks exactly like him.

Intrigued with the possibility of the existence of another man than looks just like him, Adam leaves his daily routine and starts investigating online to obtain more information regarding the actor’s identity. After finding the actor’s real name (Anthony Claire), Adam rents other movies in which he appears to check out more similarities. Obsessed and intrigued, Adam’s behavior changes radically which will force him to look for Anthony. After calling to his apartment, Anthony’s wife picks up and confuses the two. After calling each other, Adam and Anthony decide to meet in a hotel room but, when they realize that they are identical copies of each other, they start fearing each other and their lives will be in grave danger.

Although the story is covered in a mysterious atmosphere that is capable of intriguing you right from the beginning, there are lots of moments in which nothing happens and that was probably one of the weakest points of the movie. For a movie about a guy looking for a man who looked exactly like him, “Enemy” could have been better or at least easier to understand. I mean, during the entire movie I was intrigued with Adam’s obsession and trust me, Gyllenhaal’s performance is really good (and it’s probably the best thing in the whole movie), but that ending scene was just so disappointing and was so hard to understand that I actually felt the need to go to Wikipedia search for the novel’s story and to search for possible theories for that WTF ending. After reading some of the theories, I feel like the whole movie was like one of those texts we had to analyze in high school… A bit of symbolism works but unfortunately “Enemy” is not that case.

Compared with “Prisoners”, “Enemy” was a lot weaker. The mystery was there, Jake’s presence was intriguing and got my attention but the rest was just a bit disappointing. When Gyllenhaal is not there, practically nothing happens and the movie becomes a bit boring to watch. For instance, there is a scene in which a huge spider is walking in the city without any explanation and in my opinion, completely out of context. Just like Jolie did on “Maleficent”, Gyllenhaal was the only thing that made the movie tolerable and worth watching. While his fears, his feelings and his obsession contrast got my attention, there other elements were not at the same level. At first I was intrigued with the whole thing going on, I was also kind of obsessed trying to figure out what was the reason for the existence of two identical men (that were not twins) and during almost the entire length of the movie I was expecting some understandable conclusion. But, instead of making me understand the whole thing, the finale left me stunned with my mouth open without being able to explain what happened and that was quite disappointing.

“Enemy” is unquestionably not for the masses and most of the moviegoers will have a reaction similar to mine in the end. You think about the whole movie after watching it, which is a good thing, but unfortunately the symbolism did not work for me and made the whole movie less interesting. However, if you want to see a great and solid performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, “Enemy” could be good pick. If you some theories regarding the ending of the movie feel free to share them with me because I am still intrigued with the whole thing.

★★½

Trailer:

 

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