Thursday, April 10, 2014

[Review] Enemy

Director Denis Villeneuve enlists Jake Gyllenhaal again for his follow-up to last year's visceral and heartwrenching Prisoners. Enemy is more of a a subdued suspense drama. Still bleak, but significantly detached and way less heavy and tragic.

The film opens with the quote "Chaos is order yet deciphered." And after a strange, hazy and flickery dream sequence involving a naked pregnant woman and a tarantula, we're introduced to Adam (Gyllenhaal), a history professor. There's a scene early on, where one of his colleagus asks him, "Are you a movie guy?" Jake replies, "I don't really get out much", and his colleague answers with "You don't have to go out to see a movie." This exchange almost feels like a clever fourth wall break (considering Enemy has primarily been a VOD release), but it also incites the story. Adam ends up renting a film, and he notices someone who looks exactly like him in it. This rattles him, and naturally, he invistigates. As you can imagine, things get very weird as he seeks out his doppelganger.

It all unfolds in Hitchcockian fashion, sparking plenty of intrigue and making you scratch your head up until the very end. But unfortunately, it isn't always head-scratching in the best way. The plot gets muddled in the final act and the steep ambiguity leaves more to be desired, even though the final shot is pretty amusing. Gyllenhaal is very impressive, essentially giving two separate performances, and often having to talk to his "other" self.

Enemy is a woozy and confounding thriller, but you probably won't feel the need to watch it twice.


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