Stylish psychological thriller. Superb stuff!
- Enemy review by RP
Encountering a double of oneself is a recurring theme in many novels and films - and that's what 'Enemy' is about. It's a stylish psychological thriller, with an excellent central performance from Jake Gyllenhaal who plays both roles as 'the double'.
I found the film gripping. Not only is it mysterious and confusing, but it includes repeated bizarre images of spiders - beneath the foot of a naked woman, as the head of a naked woman, towering above the cityscape of Toronto, a web of overhead electrical wiring, a web-like pattern of cracks in shattered car window. The film ends with one final bizarre spider image.
'Enemy' requires some detective work to understand and will repay a second (or more!) viewing, but the clues are all there. Perhaps the most obvious clue is a strapline on the film publicity: 'You can't escape yourself'.
Adam is a college history teacher. He lives a spartan life and his girlfriend (wife?) leaves his bed early. Adam views a film and sees that a bit-part actor looks like himself. From the film credits, he finds the actor's name (Anthony), stalks him and eventually meets him. Who is this man, his doppelganger? Are they one and the same? Is one a figment of the other's imagination? Is Adam suffering from a psychosis? Why is he recognised as Anthony by others? Who are their wives?
This is great stuff and I urge you to see it - some of the imagery is still haunting me, days later. I understand that the novel (by the Portuguese Nobel prize-winning author José Saramago) is somewhat different - but the film has impressed me so much that I've ordered a copy of the book 'The Double'.
Great stuff - highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful.
Mediocre and confusing Canadian film which tries hard to be arty
- Enemy review by PV
I rented this movie after watching the absolutely brilliant Nightcrawler (2014) which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal.
This, however, is not in the same league. It is a Canadian movie with French director, and thus pretentiousness is probably to be expected. It is set in Toronto - but the director succeeds in making it look like greyer then grey concrete jungle East Berlin circa 1977. How very art-house...
But this film is also confusing, with pointless and surreal images occasionally - just, it seems, to say 'hey, I am all arty, look at me' and it really does not work. A silly opening sequence makes no sense. It may work in the novel, but not here - and I sure the writer is just fixated on spiders anyway because they bear no relation to the plot. There are better films about doubles (the man and his shadow, for one, and others: it is a very old dramatic idea, after all).
When it gets into the body double plot it's passable. But a director would have been better to dump the surreal parts of the novel and focus on the thriller element. The ending is again utter misjudged and pretentious. The old trope of 'is it all a dream' is trite beyond belief.
Also, there were NO subtitles which is annoying - in movies where characters mumbles, having HOH subtitles is the way to go!
2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
Not too sure about this film
- Enemy review by Doug
Strange film initially I stuck with it but it became a bit boring after a little while I was expecting a good ending bit was completely let down-the ending a spider on a mirror-come on surely they could have done much better than that all in all this film is a massive let down-just don't bother
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.