ENEMY // The doppleganger storyline has never been more intense or more confusing than in director Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, “Enemy”. In “Prisoners”, Villeneuve directed Jake Gyllenhaal to one of the best performances of his career, so it was only natural for these two to pair up again. This time around Gyllenhaal plays a lowly history teacher named Adam who lives a boring life amidst a monotonous relationship with Mélanie Laurent. When one of his coworkers recommends him a movie one night, he discovers one of the extras looks exactly like him. Adam begins researching the actor, whom he finds is Anthony Claire. Despite his mother telling him that he is an only child, Adam’s curiosity gets the best of him and in scaring Anthony’s pregnant wife over the phone, the two eventually meet and discover they are physically exactly the same. Bordering on the thriller genre, Anthony plays a twisted game, making Adam borrow him his clothes so he can mess around with Laurent.
Without much explanation in the plot, the film relies heavily on the actors’ performances. Gyllenhaal delivers two breakout performances, bringing the doppleganger performance to a new level. Sarah Gadon steals the show, however, as she digs into the jealous wife emotions and reflects so much of her performance under the surface that it truly causes the audience to think. Loosely adapted from José Saramago’s novel “The Double”, the film version takes some interesting visual turns to tell the story and brings an ending so startling and bizarre it will cause you to run to the nearest computer and Google what it means. Although “Enemy” will be missed by most casual viewers, those willing to invest the time will not be disappointed. However, fair warning, if you have a strong phobia of spiders (particularly tarantulas) I would highly recommend you avoid this film.
[Directed by Denis Villeneuve] [R] [90 min] [6 February 2014]