Review: ‘Enemy’ 3.29.14

I’m really, really glad this movie met my expectations. Rarely do I feel like a movie, especially these days, lives up to its (or maybe I should say my) hype. I think the less I say about this film the better. But what I will say, while filmed at the same time as ‘Prisoners’, and both starring Jake Gyllenhaal, I can see the reason why Villeneuve released ‘Prisoners’ and then ‘Enemy’ after. Had they of been released the other way around a lot less people would have seen ‘Enemy’ (well, a lot less than even the number who did). He needed the street cred of ‘Prisoners’ first (even though some may say he got it in the form of directing 2010’s Academy Award nominated ‘Incendies’). But since that was a foreign film, most likely it only caught the attention of the international community and didn’t really catapult him into the public’s consciousness. But then he made ‘Prisoners’ which caught the attention of many not only because of it’s raw, brutally stark tale of child abduction, but because to some it felt like we were seeing something new, a filmmaker with something to say. Anyways, the 2 aforementioned films could not be any more different other than that they star Gyllenhaal who, along with ‘Prisoners’, puts in his 2 best back-to-back performances to date. Here’s a very loose synopsis of the film. A sort of downtrodden, isolated, slightly depressed, middle-aged college professor, who appears to be just going through the motions in his dismal day-to-day existence, comes across a film under the recommendation of a colleague, where he winds up seeing someone who looks just like his exact self. This sets off a series of events where he begins to investigate his look-alike (or is his look-alike investigating him?). Both have significant others, one a wife and the other a girlfriend (played by the fantastic Melanie Laurent of ‘Inglorious Basterds’) who both become entagled in the web of the story. At a turning point, the 2 Gyllenhaal’s decide to exchange indentities, which is when the plot really starts to thicken and the story picks up steam. From a filmmaking standpoint it’s impecaably shot, using the cityline of Toronto in multiple shots to convey a number of different things, filtered in a brownish hue color (someone called it “cigarette stain” in another review), added in with yet another brilliant Gyllenhaal performance, and an incredible score by the team who did both ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ and ‘Simon Killer’, and a story that will have you putting the pieces together not only throughout but far after it’s over. Unnerving, disturbing, paranoiac, while also giving thought-provoking a new name. ‘Enemy’ I can assure you will not dissapoint. This is the kind of material I live for. And one that should earn itself a place on the mantle of my top 10 films of the year.

Grade: A-