Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Enemy (2013)




Denis Villeneuve


Canada | Spain


Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Kedar Brown, Darryl Dinn, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Misha Highstead, Jane Moffat, Stephen R. Hart


While watching a movie, History college professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) spots an actor that looks like him and becomes obsessed with finding out about his double.


Since I loved Villeneuve's latest film, "Arrival", I figured it was about time to check out the other films from the Canadian director, and I decided to start from "Enemy" because of its storyline. And Villeneuve once again proves what a skilled director he is with this sensational, twisted psychological thriller.

Adapted from José Saramago's novel "The Double", this doppelganger story is more complex than it seems - I think I'll need to see it a couple more times to fully understand the film -, not only because of the brilliant turns it takes and the non-linearity, but because it is loaded with deep, philosophical themes such as living under a totalitarian state without knowing it, like Forrest Wickman said, and the characters becoming aware of their artificial nature and rebel against their creator. Philosophically speaking, it is some sort of "Being John Malkovich" or what would happen if David Lynch made a movie on a novel by Kafka.
Villeneuve spends most of the first half building suspension, disturbing tension and establishing that kind of atmosphere that terrifies you even when there's nothing to be terrified of, delivering scenes that are nothing short of disturbing and unforgettable. This is how, in spite of the slow pace, the film manages to keep you glued to the screen until the end because all you want to do is see how things will go.

What makes "Enemy" even better is the cast. Just like always, Jake Gyllenhaal is beyond spectacular both as Adam and Anthony, especially as Adam, the boring, depressed and paranoid teacher. He committed so much to the roles that feel like two individual men. Overshadowed by Gyllenhaal's outstanding performance(s), there are the women in Adam and Anthony's lives, Mélanie Laurent as Adam's girlfriend, Sarah Gadon as Anthony's wife, and Isabella Rossellini as Anthony/Adam's mother, all giving great performances. 

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