Film Review : Enemy (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 71%

Directed By – Denis Villeneuve
Starring – Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, and Isabella Rossellini

A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.

Lately I have been thinking of what up underrated directors do I think are going to be the next big thing in film. Obviously guys like Paul Thomas Anderson and Spike Jonze have been receiving recognition for their work due to their originality and dedication to their work They aren’t pumping out films left and right and what we are ultimately left with is engaging cinema that is going to be talked about for years to come. Denis Villeneuve should be added to that list. He is seriously growing into one of my favorite directors working today. This film just etched it into stone that he is the real deal. While I still haven’t seen his first film “Maelstrom”(I just added to the top of my Netflix queue), I enjoyed “Prisoners” immensely and “Incendies” is one of my favorite films ever. I ended up driving over a half hour to see this is a little indie theater in south eastern New York and it was worth the time and gas mileage. Denis Villeneuve decided that when he was making this film, adapted from the novel “The Double” by Jose Saramago, he decided to make the best David Lynch film since David Lynch’s last film. Look at my profile picture. Do you think I loved the film? Sure did guys. Sure did.

“Enemy” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam, a history professor who gets a movie recommendation one day and after watching it, finds a completely identical person to himself in the film. With some research, Adam finds the man and works up the courage to confront him. That’s all you’re getting guys. The film twists and turns so much while staying eerily still and creepy that any other information about the plot will ruin things Plus, if you’ve read my ramblings you will have learned that I hate giving away plot. Hell, I don’t even like watching trailers anymore due to my interest in holding complete surprise when I enter a theater. This is why you read who made the film ladies and gentlemen and also why you remember their names. I didn’t see the trailer to this but as soon as I heard that Villeneuve had a film out I made time to see it. I ended up being the only person in the theater. The box office attendant told me that everybody has been ripping on the film and that nobody liked it. I told him that those people expected a more polished and cookie cutter film. That is not what you will end up getting. What the film is is a puzzle that only serious pondering will solve. I’m not even bragging. I had to look up the damn meaning of the film after driving a half hour and not getting really anywhere besides a few more obvious mysteries. This is where the David Lynch in this film flourishes. There are a lot of scenes that make little to no sense up front but when you start putting pieces together, those pieces start t look like something recognizable. Even then it can be so abstract that the finished product still will turn people away. That;s okay. The film is definitely not for everybody but I applaud Villeneuve for trying something different and pleasing the shit out of me.

If I were to find some more general appreciation that more people would like, I’d have to go with both color scheme and the acting of Jake Gyllenhaal. I always knew Gyllenhaal was a great actor but he’s really been coming into his own as of late. His role and the last two Villeneuve films have been fantastic and even his work in more mainstream films such as “Source Code” has been good. Playing two characters, Gyllenhaal plays with subtly brilliantly as we really aren’t given any other clues as to who is who besides body language and voice tics. He played both versions of himself great. The other standout is the color scheme. The very bleak and hazy colors that bled into the film were very comforting but also melted with each scene so well. The films score, an eerie and haunting storm of violins and cellos blended with the colors flashing on the screen. The camera work was amazing just as every one of his films has been amazing. I just can’t wait to see another one of his films.

I wish I could discuss more without going into the plot of the film but that would be a disservice as this is really a film to be experience with no prior knowledge. It’s in a very limited release right now and may be hard to find but if you can find one under an hour drive and are fans of films that don’t make a lot of sense but invite the viewing in for serious thought process, then take the drive and see it. The film will certainly give you a one of a kind experience even if you end up not liking it. Shit, the ending alone was one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen and I still have no idea what happened. You won’t be disappointed.

4.5/5

Suggested Viewing – Fight Club, Moon, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, Another Earth




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