Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Movie Review: Enemy
Enemy, the new (old) film from Prisoners mastermind Denis Villeneuve, is undoubtedly one of the most head scratchily, perplexing films I've ever seen. A film so opaque and puzzling, I could not stop thinking about it for days afterward.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam...and Anthony, and his performance as both dudes (well...) is nothing short of amazing. Adam is a neurotic History professor. He's disheveled, lives in a spartan/dingy apartment and has a smoking hot girlfriend (the oh so wonderful Melanie Laurent). His life consists of lectures, grading papers, drinking wine and having sex. One day, out of the friggin blue, a coworker randomly suggests Adam check out a certain film that might lift his dreary spirits a tad. Adam goes to the local video store, watches the flick and is startled to learn that one of the actors in the movie looks exactly like him. This is Anthony. Anthony is an aspiring actor. He's a suave fellow who wears nice suits, rides a motorcycle, and has a beautiful pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon). Adam becomes obsessed with meeting Anthony and eventually tracks him down. When the two eventually meet, that's when shit really goes off into Twilight Zone land.
Enemy was actually filmed before Prisoners, but it's release was delayed until recently. Like Prisoners, Gyllenhaal's performance is absolutely riveting. He successfully creates two distinct characters in this film, even if they are exact duplicates of each other. His mannerism for Adam (his posture, his walk, his tone of voice) are completely different than Anthony's. When the two characters interact with one another, it boggles the mind at how good Gyllenhaal is onscreen. Melanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon play different variations of the same woman also. Both are beautiful blonde companions to Gyllenhaal's Adam/Anthony combo. Laurent's character is more aggressive and her nude body appears seductive while Gadon's pregnant wife is worrisome and her nudity showcases her vulnerability. The atmosphere in the film is creepy, awash in a hazy yellow/rustic tone, and Villeneuve successfully drags the viewer into the paranoid, oddball cinematic reality he's created.
So now...the weird stuff. I suffer from arachnophobia, aka I'm deathly afraid of, well you know. So much so that I'm getting all squirmy just thinking about em'. With that in mind, any discussion of Enemy must mention it's weird and totally disgusting obsession with spiders (barf). From the opening scene to the film's now infamous final shot, this film is completely engulfed in spider imagery and metaphors. Some people might not understand what the hell is going on throughout the movie and I know the fact that I had my hands covering my eyes during some crucial points ( paralyzed w/ fear...remember?) didn't help my understanding either, but after much deliberation and some online research, I think I've pieced the film together fairly well. Anyone who is into David Lynch and Fincher films just might love this movie. Other folks will probably punch their screens asking "WTF did I just watch?"
If you watched Enemy and your brain turned into scrambled eggs, don't worry. Chris Stuckmann has an in-depth explanation of the film HERE.