Film Review : Enemy (2014)

IMDB Score – 7.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 71%

Directed By – Denis Villeneuve
Starring РJake Gyllenhaal, M̩lanie 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




Film Review : Berberian Sound Studio (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.3
Rotten Tomato – 83%
Netflix Instant Watch

Directed By – Peter Strickland
Starring – Toby Jones, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, and Chiara D’Anna

A sound engineer’s work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.

Horror is a genre that I find myself very amateur in. I’ve seen the essentials but have yet to really delve into the subculture that is the horror genre. Naturally I’ve missed some of the cult favorites that came out of Italy in the 70s. I think the only Italian horror film I’ve seen is Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” and to be honest I’m going to have to watch that again because I didn’t find it that great. Perhaps it’s a taste thing. Maybe it’ll develop over time. Peter Stricklands’ film is almost an homage to these films but strives for something original in the process. The film centers on sound engineer Gilderoy who is played with such subtly by Toby Jones. Gilderoy is hired by a bunch of pompous Italian filmmakers to engineer the sound for their horror film.

To be honest, I really didn’t get most of the film. I have some theories but ultimately the film is up to interpretation. It’s a slow burn. I actually had to finish it in two sittings. The reason being that the majority of the film is focused on the actual work of Gilderoy. There are long steady shots of Jones focusing on the audio being piped through his headset from the sound booth in front of him. His steady hands reach for the soundboard to manipulate the screams coming through. It’s a sensory driven film. Naturally the audio in the film is top notch as most of the tension and creepiness is taken from scenes involving the actresses’ blood curdling screams. Gilderoy, who is visibly disturbed by such a film, reacts with such subdued emotion but his eyes show how much discomfort he is in listening to such sounds.

The second half of the film, if you can get there, takes a very sharp right turn as if David Lynch was behind the wheel. This is where the essence of the film is felt as we are probed to decide what we are watching. Debates on how the film ends and what has been actually happening are divided arguments. I personally don’t have an idea of what was going on but it was fun ride getting there. Perhaps I’ll revisit it. It’s certainly an ambitious and unique take on the horror genre.

3/5



Favorite Movie Scenes Vol. One

This is just going to be a collection of my favorite movie scenes/shots. I’ll put the movie title first just in case you don’t want to watch it because you haven’t seen the film. I’ll also give spoiler warnings.

MAGNOLIA

Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite modern day director. He’s amazing. I could write a whole article about him but I’ll just focus on his tracking shots, which I love. The two clips I’m showing are from Magnolia, his 1999 film about chance and fate. The first is a 135 second single take that covers multiple floors and subjects on a TV studio. The second clip is a 79 second shot following William H Macy into a bar where we are introduced to Brad the bartender. Both these clips are just fantastic camera work from a young soon to be legend of film.

JAWS

Jaws is my favorite film of all time. This is my favorite scene in my favorite film of all time. This is my favorite scene of all time.

FULL METAL JACKET

I’ve always loved this movie but whenever I think of the film, I think of this scene. Kubrick was a one of a kind filmmaker. This is known. He’s always been a fan of tracking shots. I find this special because not only is it a perfectly tracked shot with the soldiers lined up sitting down and stretchers being flashed by in the opposite direction of the camera, but it’s a tracking shot of a tracking shot. I loved how Kubrick filmed filmmakers essentially filing the same shot as he is. Plus…Surfin’ Bird.

DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB

Again, Kubrick…filming airplane sex. Best opening of all time.

INCENDIES

Speaking of openings, this is one of the most haunting shots I’ve ever seen, and it opens the film. For those of you who have know idea what film this is. Watch it. It’s amazing.

BLUE VELVET

I could have picked another Frank Booth scene from this movie but this is just too perfect. David Lynch is amazing and Blue Velvet is just a one of a kind film. It’s a disturbing but very emotional film all wrapped in a twisted little package.

12 ANGRY MEN (SLIGHT SPOILERS)

Such a powerful image. 11 men with their backs turned to one.