DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
Straight away from the outset this film creates mood and atmosphere for Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters of Adam and Anthony to exist. A haunting and eerie music score plays throughout the film reminding viewers of old Bernard Herrman scores from Hitchcock films. What we watch on screen is Villeneuve try to attempt that great Hitchcock genre of thriller. He attempts but does he succeed? Enemy is an unsettling film to watch. It hits the right marks of distrust and mystery but I was watching it always wanting to compare it to an Alfred Hitchcock film. The main dual role is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and if this film was made half a century ago I’d imagine Cary Grant in the lead.
What’s going in Enemy?
Gyllenhaal plays Adam the college lecturer who gives tired lectures on control and philosophy until one day he rents a film and spots what appears to be himself on screen as an extra. He at first is shocked and in disbelief questions does he pursue this mystery and let it eat him with anxiety or follow through? The latter happens and he meets Anthony the actor. They both have different views on what is happening and want resolve. There’s a quiet desperation from both men wanting to see how each other lives and how it can add to their own perspective.
The film views two individuals and we observe them in their own relationships with women. Power and control are examined and we watch just how it is asserted for good or bad.
The film is only ninety minutes in length and it keeps you in those minutes however it did feel like a short novella or chapter of a greater book. Without giving spoilers away this film already has online discussion about theories relating to plot points and key moments. All for good measure.
Gyllenhaal as an actor can play dual roles comfortable whether it be history teacher Adam or third rate actor Anthony. As an actor he sinks into his roles and one wonders when he’ll get the gold statue. In his generation he’ll be compared against DiCaprio. Gyllenhaal has edge over DiCaprio in a few areas and one of those is that he can play down his star role and add to the character he plays. Gyllenhaal knows he’s an actor and star but he can separate that star power from his character where DiCaprio is a good actor and star. Gyllenhaal does well in Enemy with co stars Sarah Gadon, Melanie Laurent and Isabella Rosellini.
Villeneuve has created a film here that like other thrillers and mysteries will need to be rewatched but the key difference is there’s likely to be more than one fan theory.
Who is the Enemy?
Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam / Anthony
Isabella Rosellini as
Sarah Gadon as Helen
Melanie Laurent as Mary