Jake Gyllenhaal and…erm….Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy
Enemy is definitely one of those movies you have to watch twice to probably catch everything you need to. This movie seems so basic from the outside, but it is actually littered with deeper meanings and motifs. This movie marks the second film where Jake Gyllenhaal teamed up with director DenisVilleneuve; the first one being Prisoners. Both movies are very good in their own right, but they are definitely two completely different kinds of movies.
Enemy is about Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a history professor who simply watches a movie and spots himself; or rather, his doppelganger/double. Adam is kind of down on his luck. When we first see him, he is in a strange sex club where men just watch naked women masturbate. And it seems like he is completely disinterested in his beautiful girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent). It is apparent that the relationship definitely has some issues. But after seeing his double, he decides to track him down. And both of their lives become intertwined once they meet. This is the basic setup, but there is so much more to it than that.
“Chaos is order yet undeciphered.” That quote is thrown up on the screen before it really starts and upon thinking about the movie for hours after viewing, the line comes back and makes perfect sense. Now, there are things that happen in this movie that are weird and messed up. The plot is very tricky, but it is also extremely smart. I have been told that based upon your take on the movie after its controversial final image; that tells a lot about you as a person. For me, this movie makes perfect sense. It does have a lot of deeper meaning that you have to search for. It is all there on the screen for us to see; we just miss it sometimes. There are so many little things to catch in this film, that it is so easy to miss a single one of them. I could go in-depth and give away the entire movie, but I won’t do that. This movie is best experienced knowing nothing about it. That way, you can determine your own take on anything and everything.
That final image will leave a lot of people pissed off and a lot of people just muttering “what the fuck?” It is one of those endings. But it is the perfect ending. Now on to the rest of the movie. The addition of the spider motifs in this movie was fantastic. It added a lot of really cool imagery while also giving us a feel for what was around us in the movie. It may not make much sense at first but if you really think about it, the spiders make perfect sense. I loved the inclusion of them, and I fricken hate spiders to death. They freak me the hell out. And they definitely gave me some “heebie-jeebies” when I saw them, but it was worth it. If you look, the whole movie is surrounded by spiders. The wires on the streets look similar to spider webs, a crack glass looks identical to a web, as well as the literal spiders and the lady with the head of a spider. If this movie sounds fucked up to you, that’s because it is.
Jake Gyllenhaal does amazing work as two completely different people. Yes, it is hard to keep track of which character does what at times, but you can definitely tell which character is on screen due to the amazing work from Gyllenhaal. He has really impressed me the last few years. I used to think he was just an okay actor, but after seeing this and Prisoners, along with numerous others; I can safely say that he is a fantastic actor. And I am glad he still gets to do movies like this. Movies that aren’t blockbusters. Movies that are intelligent and actually mean something. The entire movie is acted well. Melanie Laurent does well with what she has and so does Sarah Gadon. Gadon really impressed me with her scenes though. Mostly because I hadn’t seen any of her work up to this point.
The creepy music as well as the overall bland color tone of the movie just adds to the masterpiece that this movie is. I give credit to Denis Villeneuve because he definitely had a brilliant idea and ran with it. Yes, this is based off of a novel, but he added a lot of certain things to this movie. He had great writers and being a great director, he was able to put it all on screen. He wanted to have the scenes surrounded by yellows and browns; it adds to the tone of the movie. He wanted a creepy horror-esque vibe to come from the score. And the spiders were exceptionally creepy. He was able to make this movie that most people will find slow, an edge of my seat thrill ride. It isn’t a suspense movie by any means, but the intensity level is so high that I found myself completely intrigued by the entire thing.
It is the kind of movie you talk about with your friends for hours after you finish it. I will probably be talking about this with friends and family for weeks to come. That is always a good thing. Enemy is one of the best movies I have seen this year so far, if not the best. Because it is so simple, yet so fascinating and intelligent. It is completely intense and dramatic and kept my eyes glued. I know my take on the whole movie and my reaction to it, and I think that is what makes this movie so special. You can have completely different interpretations depending on who you are. This is a special one of a kind movie that I feel needs to be viewed and appreciated a lot more than it has been.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Anthony and Adam
Melanie Laurent as Mary
Sarah Gadon as Helen
Isabella Rossellini as Mother
WHAT I LIKED:
+: Jake Gyllenhaal really shined as he had to play two completely different characters. He had to play so many different things in this movie; so many different emotions. And he nailed them all. He has really impressed me. I didn’t know he was this good of an actor. I am excited to see more things from him in the future.
+: The supporting cast is great. Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, and even Isabella Rossellini (in her one scene) do great work with what they had to do. Sarah Gadon really stood out in my mind.
+: The imagery, the tricks, the deeper hidden-but-not-so-hidden meanings, the spider motifs, the color tones, the creepy score; all add up to make this one hell of an experience.
+: That ending…and the overall way this movie makes you decide for yourself what is really going on.