Reviewed by Jordan Smith.
And would you believe it? The second film I watch and review after The Double is a film with a pretty similar premise. What happens when you meet someone who looks exactly like you? Nothing good, as The Double showed us. Doppelgangers must be a hot topic at the moment or something.
Enemy is the new film by Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve and it also stars Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead roles. The film was written by Javier Gullon and is about Adam Bell, a university professor who has a somewhat troubled relationship with his girlfriend. He is quiet and reserved. Naturally he ends up finding out that he has a doppelganger and resolves to find him. When they do meet up, Anthony Claire is exactly the same as Adam in every way; they even have the same scar on their chests. Anthony is much more aggressive than Adam and Adam decides that finding his double was a bad idea.
This film has roughly about the same runtime as The Double but I’m having trouble remembering too much from this one. It simply isn’t as memorable as The Double. There’s a lot of waiting around and there isn’t all that much interaction between the two characters that Gyllenhaal plays. It’s not as exciting as The Double, but it is as strange. But in a different way. There’s a really in your face metaphor that appears at three points in the film. And that’s one of the weirder things in the film. It helps create an incredibly memorable shot in the middle of the film and there’s a pretty cool ending because of it as well.
Gyllenhaal has shown that he’s one of the best actors in the industry at the moment but unfortunately I don’t believe that he’s getting as much recognition as he should be. His performance in Prisoners last year was outstanding and his performance as two men who are the complete opposites of each other is similarly impressive. Often this sort of dual role can seen as easy to do or can be played in a way that is over the top to overemphasise the differing qualities of the two opposing characters. Here though, it’s all in the subtleties of the characters. If the differences between the changes are quite subtle then the fact that the two characters really are different characters is much more believable.
Again, I can’t say that I preferred this film to The Double. The screenplay for Enemy makes for a less engaging and entertaining experience. There are some scenes that gripped me due to the fantastic performances or because I found the film drawing me into some trance for some reason. This film, again like The Double, uses a pretty bland colour palette in the shots throughout the film; where The Double looked brown throughout (for the most part) this film uses shades of yellow. The Double used the colour brown to reinforce the image of this incredibly dull world that the lead character lives in; Enemy uses the colour yellow to attempt to make the viewer feel uncomfortable. At least, that’s what I think. It was a pretty uncomfortable viewing experience, the yellows and the fact the film took place during the Summer months made me think of how one can feel uncomfortable at extreme temperatures. It probably also didn’t help that it was incredibly warm when I was watching the film.
Enemy isn’t quite as unique as The Double and I would advise people to go and watch the latter out of the two, but Enemy is a decent film with great performances and an interesting storyline throughout, though it doesn’t really go anywhere. The film feels like it has more to tell, so as great as the ending was, Enemy feels like it stops short.