02nd Jan2015

Enemy – Film

by timbaros

Jake Gyllenhaal’s last film, Nightcrawler, was a critical and commercial success, earning him some of the best reviews of his career. His new film, Enemy, won’t.

Actually, Enemy is a strange movie. It’s a Canadian-Spanish film that was released in the U.S. in 2013 to generally good reviews, but only took in $3.4 million at the box office. It’s a psychological thriller, gripping, yet a bit silly. But it’s an original story, loosely based on a 2002 novel called The Double, which would’ve been a more appropriate name to call it. You see, Gyllenhaal plays two characters in the film; one is Adam Bell – a college professor/lecturer who lives in an almost unfurnished apartment (even his mother tells him ‘how could you live in a place like this’) with a pretty part-time blond girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent). Gyllenhaal also plays Anthony Claire, an actor (who goes by the name Daniel Saint Claire), who lives in a glamorous high rise with his blond pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon). How do these two characters meet? One of Adam’s fellow teachers recommends a film to Adam that he recently saw called Where There’s a Will There’s a Way. Upon watching the film, Adam recognizes the actor playing a bellman – and the actor looks just like him! So Adam becomes obsessed on finding and actually meeting this guy – his double! And they do meet, in a motel room. But in keeping with Gyllenhaal’s shy Adam Character, he gets nervous and bolts out of the room. Eerily enough, one day Anthony follows Mary to work, and then he goes to Adam’s apartment and tells him that he’s going to be him for a night (and to sleep with his girlfriend), and that Adam will be Anthony for the night.

Confusing? Yes, a bit. But we never learn why Anthony wants anything to do with Adam and his girlfriend. What does he gain out of it? A night away from his pregnant wife? And Adam, who appears to be afraid of his own shadow, can he perform the charade and be Anthony for the night, and fool Anthony’s wife?

The best part of Enemy is the gripping soundtrack. It knaws at the viewer to expect an even more gripping scene is coming up. Yes, there gripping scenes come up, but it’s all for naught as the final scene has something to do with a spider, a spider that is seen in a previous scene in the film that felt a bit out of context. Gyllenhaal is fantastic in both roles (of course he is) and the two female co-stars are also very good, as is Isabella Rossellini in her too brief role as Adam’s mother. But Enemy is a bit of a let down when it all adds up. But both Jake, and the city of Toronto where this film was shot, look good.