Denis Villeneuve, who is slowly establishing himself as a master filmmaker with powerful works such as Incendies (2010) and Prisoners (2013), delivers a twisting, convoluted psychological mystery in â€˜Enemyâ€.Â Youâ€™re never going to figure out exactly whatâ€™s going on in this movie, so prepare to piece together the story (that is if your brain can keep up till the end credits). This quirky Canadian film about an unhappy history professor and his edgy, mysterious twin, has a twisting storyline that can sometimes be difficult to comprehend.
Jake Gyllenhaal does an outstanding job portraying both the college instructor, and his double, a struggling actor hiding strange secrets.Mousy teacher Adam Bell, by chance discovers that he has an exact double, Anthony St. Clair, a low-rent actor starring in forgettable movies. Obsessed by this discovery, Adam initially proceeds to stalk Anthony, eventually leading to the two meeting face-to-face where they learn that their similarities are beyond coincidence. As the two men develop a strange paranoia and competition over the women in their respective lives, (as you might guess) nothing good comes of it. You begin to wonder if thereâ€™s some bigger secret here, a hole in the plotline left to be filled, but that question is never truly answered, as the suspense comes from never fully understanding which direction the story is headed during any point of the entire movie.
Parts of â€œEnemyâ€ are so unreal it feels like youâ€™re watching someoneâ€™s fever dream. Even if you canâ€™t tell which direction the film is going, it never stops earning every second of your attention in the weirdest way possible. Every breadcrumb thatâ€™s dropped by the director will draw you deeper into the story, which makes you believe one thing, only to have your suspicions scrapped by the next scene. Frustrating? Yes. Great storytelling? â€¦Almost.
â€œEnemyâ€ is a mysterious, oddball thriller, but outside of an exceptional performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, its obscure and nonsensical nature offers very little reason to watch. I canâ€™t say for sure I know (or that anyone knows â€“ including the filmmakers) what the heck is going on in this movie, so I admit that I was left baffled by it all. Â I hate to say it, but overall I was disappointed by â€œEnemyâ€. The film had a lot of promise and certainly does its very best to look great, but it never really gives any reason to care, just reasons to be confused. However, Gyllenhaal is spectacular in the lead performances! Sadly, even he cannot make audiences care any deeper about what is going on or why.
Hopefully Villeneuve will stick to more films like Prisoners in the future because enemy is a total miss!!
My Rating: 4/10.
By: Murteza Haider Aftab
Director – Cinematographer – Writer
CEO – Tez Aftab Productions