“History repeats itself twice. The first time is a tragedy, the second time is a farce.” That is a line spoken early on by, let’s call him Jake 1, and it seems to be the theme throughout the entire movie. Seems, is the operative word there. Enemy is one of those movies that requires multiple viewings to even get a small picture of what is going on. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a college history teacher (Jake 1) who, through what seems to be an innocent conversation with a stranger, discovers that there is another man out there who looks exactly like him (Jake 2). Jake 1 then tries to meet Jake 2 to see what exactly is going on.
If you’re thinking to yourself “this sounds like a Fight Club rip-off,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Fight Club was like a tongue in cheek look into the inner psyche. Enemy is like a mind screw on every level. It’s like taking the final ten minutes of 2001 and making it ninety minutes. The closest thing I can relate it to is the Lars story line of the Futurama movie Bender’s Big Score. Minus the time travel. Maybe. To try and follow Enemy on the first viewing is fruitless, just open your eyes and let the info flow into them, then maybe on the 6th view, if you can make it through that many, try to start deciphering the meanings.
As a visual piece, Enemy is very well put together. Villeneuve crafts this almost alien world tinted in yellow. Whether done on purpose or not, the city in which the two Jakes live is sparsely populated and feels very cold and distant. There are moments when the two characters seem to blend together which almost gives it another level, but those are almost forgotten scenes in the bigger picture of it all, and there are more than a few references to spiders that seem to be random, at best. The sound design and visuals are very striking and I hope that that will be a trademark for him.
I’ve only done this once before, but I’m not going to give Enemy a rating. It is one of those movies that you need to see for yourself, and honestly, I don’t know how to feel about this movie yet myself. I can tell you I was very excited to see this movie. Prisoners was my favorite movie from last year and I couldn’t wait to see what Villeneuve had done with this one. I liken my anticipation to this as that of Only God Forgives, but the difference being I absolutely hated Only God Forgives. Enemy left me confused and wanting more. It is based on a book and I researched the plot to that and it added a little insight into it, but not the kind I was looking for. I was honestly sitting there thinking to myself “yeah, I have this figured out,” and then, boom, the ending was like a slap in the face. Enemy will be one of those movies that will be picked apart for years to come, but honestly, it is one of those movies that makes me wonder if filmmakers actually know what they’re doing when they produce flicks like this.
Go see it
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About the movie
Synopsis: A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Javier Gullon
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Run time: 90 min