ENEMY

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

BLU-RAY REVIEW: ENEMY/ CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DENIS VILLENEUVE / SCREENPLAY: JAVIER GULLON / STARRING: JAKE GYLLENHAAL, MELANIE LAURENT, SARAH GADON, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 9TH

Enemy is an adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel, The Double; a trippy tale of dark mystery that revolves around two people who happen to be identical. First up, we’re introduced to Adam (Gyllenhaal), a university lecturer who is going through the motions as he spews dictatorial history on unwilling students whilst spending his free time having sex with his barely girlfriend, Mary (Laurent). When he ends up spotting his doppelganger in a minor role in a film, he sets out to find his double. This double, again played by Gyllenhaal, goes by the name of Anthony and accompanying his cock-sure attitude is pregnant wife, Helen (Gadon). Whereas Anthony is confident and seemingly empowered in his situation, Adam is meek, nervy and insular.

As the film progresses, the pendulum swings between what Gyllenhaal’s two characters want; at varying times throughout the movie, each character has their reservations about meeting up, although things start to take a slightly more sinister route as the film progresses. Intertwined in the mystery is a dollop of psychosexual intrigue, and Enemy keeps you on your toes throughout its run time. Admittedly, Villeneuve’s film, his second team-up with Gyllenhaal after Prisoners, is a slow-burner and does occasionally plod along, meaning some viewers may find themselves switching off, but there’s a lot to enjoy for those who stick with Enemy.

Watching Enemy unravel, you’ll be thinking of various answers as to why Gyllenhaal’s two central characters are exactly the same, even down to the same scar and the same facial hair (because, obviously, their neighbourhood is all out of razors). Whilst there’s a plethora of theories on just what the connection is, if there is one, between Adam and Anthony, we’ll breeze over them for fear of potential spoilers. But when the film’s climax does come, it’s all still left relatively open-ended and up for debate, which plenty will love and some may find infuriating.

Whereas Jake Gyllenhaal has occasionally tried his arm at huge “spectacle” blockbusters filled with hundreds of people, it’s nice to see him involved in a more minimalistic effort here. Aside from his two roles, there’s literally two love interests and his mother (Rossellini) who get any real screen time. Laurent is solid enough as the sexed-up barely-there girlfriend of Adam, and Gadon is particularly impressive as mother-to-be Helen. Still, there’s no getting away from it: Gyllenhaal is remarkable here. Whether you enjoy Enemy or find it as frustrating as a slow-moving pavement-hogger, there’s no denying Gyllenhaal is superb in his dual roles, delivering two vastly different performances and stealing the show with both. It’s turns like this that make you realise just how good Gyllenhaal is when he puts his mind to it.

Special Features: Making-of featurette
 

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