Enemy

20140514-222307.jpg

Director: Denis Villenueve.
Screenplay: Javier Gullón.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Kedar Brown.

“The last thing you need is meeting strange men in hotel rooms. You already have enough trouble sticking with one woman, don’t you?”

Reportedly made before they collaborated on the impressive vigilante thriller “Prisoners” in 2013, Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve crafted this fascinating and hugely involving psychological drama. Now that the surrealist master David Lynch has seemingly taken a backseat from filmmaking, it’s promising to see that someone else is able to handle the material that wouldn’t be out of place in his hands.

20140522-124157-45717703.jpg

Mild-mannered history professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), is disillusioned with his life and current partner (Melanie Laurent) and apparently in search of some other fulfilment. On the suggestion of a colleague, he happens to rent a movie one evening and catches a glimpse of a bit-part actor (Gyllenhaal again). He pauses the film for a better look and notices that he shares an identical resemblance to him. After some investigation he decides to meet his doppelgänger but their lives begin to intertwine and the real problems begin.

20140522-124317-45797054.jpg

Chaos is order yet undeciphered” – pay heed to this opening quote, as well as the opening scene while pondering the complexities of Villenueve’s marvellously twisted, psychological offering. It certainly wont make a whole lot of sense to begin with but it’ll serve you well in trying to decipher just what the hell is going on and even though some will still not fully grasp it, the answers are definitely there. There are plot elements that are better left unexplained but rest assured that this is a film that’s entirely deserving of your time and effort and by doing so, you’ll be thoroughly rewarded.

20140522-124410-45850941.jpg

The destination will leave many perplexed but the beauty of “Enemy” is the intriguingly dreamlike and suspenseful journey. Not unlike the style of David Fincher, Villeneuve chooses to shoot in desaturated colours which adds to the sense of loneliness and detachment and Gyllenhaal delivers some towering work. On the one hand, he leads a empty existence, reflected in his social awkwardness and soulless, repetitive lifestyle while on the other he captures a dark arrogance that counterbalances his characters. Gyllenhaal’s dual role offers many delights as you watch the subtlety of his different mannerisms and without such convincing central performances, the film probably wouldn’t work as well as it does. Kudos to Villeneuve’s as well, though. His adaptation and handling of José Saramago’s compelling, 2002 novel “The Double” is very tight and assured. He keeps the running time short, rarely wasting a moment, and sustains a palpable sense of unease and tension right up until the shocking (and thought provoking) end.

20140522-124509-45909036.jpg

If you could splice Lynch’s “Lost Highway” or “Mulholland Drive” with Fincher’s “Fight Club” while adding a little of Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” then this would be their bastard child. It’s as cerebral and surreal as those aforementioned films and just as good at channeling their similar themes of moral uncertainty…

With an Enemy like this, who needs friends?

20140514-222554.jpg

Mark Walker

Trivia: According to the director, Denis Villeneuve, Javier Bardem was offered the lead role but the actor felt he didn’t suit the character. Christian Bale was also offered the role and he wanted to do it but couldn’t due to scheduling conflicts with other projects.

Advertisements

68 Responses to “Enemy”

  1. I just watched this the other day, Muckers. It’s definitely one that will get you to thinking after it’s over.

    That fucking ending almost made me shit myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely got me pondering, bro. After some thought it all made sense, though. I loved the shit out of this. And that ending was something else, man. Very unexpected.

      Like

  2. I really want to see this. Thanks, Mark.

    Like

  3. It’s nice to see Jake Gyllenhaal lately doing gritty, acting roles. It’s elevated my respect for him for sure. I love the movie poster! Great review, Mark.

    Like

    • Thanks Cindy. D’you, Gyllenhaal is one of those actors that I’ve never really taken to and I have absolutely no reason why. Everytime I see him, he’s always very good. I don’t doubt his abilities at all and this film is proof that he has what it takes.

      Like

      • He was one I wasn’t convinced–from October Sky to Johnny Darko to The Day After Tomorrow — he seemed like a wooden adolescent of Clive Owen. I was impressed with Brokeback Mountain I think Heath Ledger made him a better actor. Now he seems like he’s grown up into a man with more variety of facial expressions and portraying characters that are interesting. He’s no Christian Bale, but he’s better than average. This reminds me how much I miss Heath Ledger. 😦

        Like

      • I always frowned upon Gyllenhaal because I seen him as a product of nepotism. His parents were involved in movies so he’s basically a child of Hollywood. However, he does seem to be showing the goods now.

        Like

  4. I’m curious about this one when I first saw the trailer, glad to hear it delivered. I read Sati’s post on this that got me even more curious as well. Jake Gyllenhaal seems to be drawn to darker roles but seems like he can pull it off. I wasn’t fond of him initially, he seems rather bland to me, but I did like him in Source Code and the earlier work he did in October Sky.

    Like

    • You should definitely check this out, Ruth. It’s a great psychological drama and Gyllenhaal really delivers. I don’t normally take to him either but I can’t really fault the guy. He’s quite the actor.

      Like

  5. I saw maybe 5 movies released this year but this one will probably be in my top 20 of the year even if I see many more – so glad you liked this film, I agree with your comparisons to Lynch’s films. I hated Prisoners but this one was terrific.

    Like

    • I didn’t mind Prisoners, Sati. I suppose it helped that I thought it was going to be complete garbage and ended up quite liking it. This, on the other hand, was superb. I can see this featuring highly in my list of the year too.

      Like

  6. So thrilled you love this film, I fucking adore it! Excellent post :).

    Like

    • Haha! Great to hear, Joseph. I thought it was absolutely brilliant too. Quite hard to write about without giving away spoilers but it’s a top, top film for sure.

      Like

  7. High praise Mark. Excellent post. Enjoyed Prisoners; this looks really strong.

    Like

  8. It’s a very strange movie, but I think it needed to be in order to get its job done the right way. Also helped that Jake Gyllenhaal is a pretty great actor in his own right. Good review Mark.

    Like

    • Cheers Dan! I went into this with only the premise, managing to avoid anything else about it and it completely delivered. Gyllenhaal was fantastic. Now I need to see The Double.

      Like

  9. Wow. This looks great. Never saw it. On the list…

    Like

  10. Enemy is definitely high on my list as soon as it gets its ass to the indie/arthouse circuit here where I live! I can assure you I’ll be all over this thing like flies on moose shit.

    Like

  11. Great review Mark. I saw this recently and I was like WTF?! It was really good, I thought it was brilliantly put together, shot stunningly and Gyllenhaal impressed the hell out of me again!

    Like

    • Cheers Zoe! I couldn’t disagree with you at all. I too thought the look was perfect, the pace spot on and Gyllenhaal really delivered here. It’s possibly my favourite film of the year, so far.

      Like

  12. Nice review Mark. Really looking forward to seeing this one.

    Like

  13. Popcorn Nights Says:

    Good stuff Mark, sounds well worth checking out. I haven’t seen Prisoners either, so I should get on that fairly quickly.

    Like

  14. I still have to see Prisoners but this looks interesting. Haven’t seen Isabella Rossellini in anything notable in a long while. Here’s some trivia for ya. I knew she dated David Lynch back in the late 80’s but did you know she was married to Marty Scorsese for 3 years in the early 80’s?

    Like

    • This is a brilliant film, Dave. I enjoyed Prisoners but this type of movie is far more my style.

      It is good to see Rossellini again. She’s been absent for too long. Nice trivia there as well, man. I did know about Scorsese. In fact, she was with him at the academy awards the year DeNiro won for Raging Bull and Scorsese was blatantly snubbed.

      Like

  15. Great review, Mark! I’m so curious about this one. Loved Prisoners.

    Like

  16. Enemy is definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a while – hunting, intelligent, thrilling and beautiful. The movie didn’t leave my mind for several days, and I’m still wrapping my head around some of the movie’s symbolism. Great review!

    Dorian

    Like

    • Thanks Dorian! I thought it was marvellous. One of those films that’s hard to write about, let alone discuss without ruining it for others. Quite possibly the best film of the year so far.

      Like

  17. Superb review Mark, definitely very interested in this one. Seems to be one that’s largely slipped under the radar but looks right up my street if a little mind-boggling.

    Like

  18. The whole production has this unrelenting feeling of dread. There’s something sinister looming you can’t quite put your finger on. The narrative grows more fascinating with each new development. One of 2014’s best. Great review!

    Like

    • Absolutely Mark. The feeling of dread is almost unbearable. It a fabulous piece of work and I’d agree that it’s definitely on the best of the year so far. I’d go as far to say that it is the best I’ve seen of 2014. I must drop by on your review. I had been putting off reading about it before I seen it myself.

      Like

  19. Great review, certainly looks very Lynchian.

    Like

  20. […] really don’t want to spoil it if you have yet to see it. This was something that Joseph and Mark rather enjoyed, that Eric enjoyed but was not completely certain how much, and that Rob absolutely […]

    Like

  21. […] cabinet I made with my own bare hands to MARK for his […]

    Like

  22. Great review. Loved the bone-chilling atmospherics of the film. But the ending (forgive the language) was the most fucked up thing I’ve seen in a long time. Made me shiver in my seat.
    Keep this posts coming. Love this blog. 🙂

    Like

  23. Well-written review that explains only what’s needed to be. Watched it the first time and it nutted me out by the end – and I guess primarily because of the end. It took me three helpings to finally get the gist of the film’s significance (or at least my outlook of it) – the double, the spiders et al.

    I’m actually curious as to – considering there are now a bunch of people who have deciphered the movie – know what’s your take on the yellowish, warm color hues through the film. Although it does lend to it’s fairly deliciously creepy taste, it would really be fun to know what’s the angle. A lot of films otherwise would lend a slightly colder color tone (blues) to give the creeps. This may or may not be the first time – but it certainly feels slightly unorthodox and yet successful, because it nails it.

    Like

    • Hey man! Sorry for such a late reply but I just realised this comment wasn’t responded to. I aim to respond as much as is necessary.

      As for the different hue that Villenueve took, I’ve seen it before in the works of David Fincher. Se7en and Zodiac took a similar approach and worked marvellously for doing so. I could be wrong here but I reckon Villenueve has taken a Fincher approach on this. I’ve also seen this utilised so well in some French movies. Jean Pierre Juenet delivered the marvellous Delicatessan in a similar fashion and also used it for Alien Ressurection. As (again) did Fincher for his take on Alien 3. It’s a brilliant effect and one that I think has caught on now!

      Like

      • I couldnt catch Se7en because I freaked after the opening titles lol. I’ll probably be catching up with Zodiac real soon.

        But it actually does work brilliantly. Now that I remember I guess there was even this film called Traffic which did a bit of that (because different tints for different stories).

        Like

      • D’you know, it’s been that long since I seen Traffic that I can’t even remember how that played out.

        You’ll see what I mean when you see Zodiac, though.

        Like

  24. Nice review, and you did it without revealing too much of the plot which I think I kinda did(oops) in my review. I guess the popular view is that both characters are Jake, the sort of ‘id’ and the ‘superego’ or some sort of personality conflict. My initial interpretation is more literary. I’ve always preferred to see it as two characters whose similarity causes a sort of conflict between the both of them; How nature’s cruel play with the idea of the ‘double’ causes extreme damage to both characters. I guess both readings have loopholes, but it’s still extremely provocative nonetheless. Very haunting as well, it almost eats away at you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was determined to keep it spoiler free (which wasn’t easy at all). I loved the film, though. Definitely was the years highlights.
      I’m interested in how you went about your review now. I’ll swing by in a bit. 🙂

      Like

  25. […] of films and genres that Villeneuve has explored in that time; from the nightmarish surrealism of Enemy; his unflinching kidnap thriller Prisoners and his drug cartel, action drama Sicario. If you put […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: