From the director of “Prisoners,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” brings you to an experience of minding into one’s subconscious mind. It’s not a type of movie, again, where you can’t understand at the first viewing. You just keep watching it over and over again. Maybe, you’re directly looking for thousands and millions of analysis on the internet. And like that, I did the same thing. For some reason, it’s so different from any other mind-blowing spell-binding movie or any kinds. This is a movie which is full, I mean, full of symbolism. It’s another kind of movie you want to talk again and again. Of course, you really want to open a discussion session with your friends who also watch this. The ending that tickles you at the end? It’s just one of the WTF endings that have ever existed.
“Prisoners,” probably, is one of the most compelling thriller ever. Denis presents a high intensity of tension, an interesting puzzle, and very beautiful images. The emotional side was so deep, the acting was so amazing, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal. Whatever it is. Speaking of Gyllenhaal, this film stars as well as him. Denis just need a month before “Prisoners” so that the process of filming the film finished. As his debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, this is an adaptation of “The Double” by José Saramago. But, it’s “Enemy.”
Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a history teacher who lives in a simple apartment. His daily life filled with repeated loops. In his lecture material which only filled with half of the room, Adam explained a dichotomy of the city of Rome. Dictatorship or politics, something like that I don’t really know. The main focus in the course is how the Roman governance system is full of distractions that pattern, continuously over and over again. Likewise, Adam’s life, an intermediary universe whether you could go back or not.
He underwent a relationship with his girlfriend, Mary (Mélanie Laurent). Nothing special. His life is still empty even though he has a girlfriend. His life filled with boredom changed him when he watched a film. Recommended by his friend, Adam saw one of the actors in the film. The actor has a face that is very similar to him. There isn’t a slight change, even for coincidence it feels ridiculous. But, it’s not. It’s real. His name is Anthony Claire (Jake Gyllenhaal), an actor who has a wife named Helen (Sarah Gadon). His wife became pregnant for six months.
Quiet, dark and mind-freak. “Enemy” feels like a slow film with a slow narrative as well. I don’t feel bored when watching “Prisoners”. The case for this film is very different. The film explores the lives of the main characters with twins. Strangely, there is a parallel that connects the two. It’s just one of those movies. You must be able to deduce various kinds of interpretations of yourself and others. These twin characters are like living in two lives exchanging. However, they didn’t realize that their lives were ambiguous and bound by mystery.
This film is indeed not a film written in a casual review. Even though there is so much analysis even in-depth, I don’t know if I’ll also try to write it. But, let’s look at the basic. “Enemy” is packed with narratives that slightly jump over it. Apart from the “linear” plot, the film isn’t as simple as we can imagine. So many strange events. For the first scene myself, I’m confused about what exactly happened. There is no connection between the main story and the first scene. So, it only makes it pointless right?
“Enemy” is a movie without ending. Yeah, I bet you will do the same expression when you see that ending. The ending just makes you confused, weird and shocked. However, this film doesn’t have an ending like an ending. It’s hard to say how. You will know if you watch it repeatedly while finding clear answers. Unlike “Prisoners,” “Enemy” is filled with a variety of vague and random symbols. There is a scene when a giant spider walks into a city. There is an electric cable that has a metaphor of a spider web. In fact, the first scene also had spiders.
Every ambiguous scene is very critical and I love that. From the first viewing, I think this film tells the story of spiders as creators. Spiders here are ‘she’. She is in Adam’s life, more precisely, to catch her prey. Nothing more, she determined the fate and destiny of whether Adam could be eaten or not. From the second viewing, it’s more than that. I see the surrealism of this film so close. The first and ending scene is closely related explain the actual circumstance of what’s the story about. Then, all of them
The scene when Helen and Adam meet for the first time. Helen is so speechless when she first saw Adam. Then, Adam left. For the first impression, Helen said nothing. Meanwhile, Adam acted plainly when he saw Helen. When Helen starts calling her husband, Adam goes and disappears behind the wall. This scene strengthens my third viewing more if Adam has a split personality. However, this also made me doubtful. The question is, why can’t Helen tell the difference? Wedding rings or blueberries? Yes, it’s just an ambiguous answer to a film that is so ambiguous too.
From analyzes that I’ve read, they tried to analyze it as deep as possible. There are those that connect it with politics. The government tries to control its people. As said in Adam’s lecture, he explained an order of the city of Rome that had a pattern. But it’s just another subjective analysis from other people. Nicolas Bolduc’s cinematography is so full of uniqueness. Providing attractive visual decorations, the film is dominated by yellow. Yellow can mean warm but can mean solitude and emptiness. The choice of color is then always inserted in dark colors such as Adam’s apartment and the gang he often passes.
Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans‘ score is epic. All of this represents the film as dark yet gloomy tone. Each scene is so alive. Not simple but so visible. Not too “full” but really able to represent it. Jake Gyllenhaal is no doubt a one-man performance after “Moon.” Just one incredible performance. Different characterizations became Jake’s bulge to master his full role in this film. The conflict that arose in his mind, with his twin and his wife made him able to compete. The main focus of Gyllenhaal’s character is more directed to the emotional side. Just like his character as Detective Loki in “Prisoners.”
“Enemy” is one of the greatest work doubles from both literature and cinema. There are not many stories or films about two personalities (see it surreally) that arises. Some are there but it just seems unoriginal like a good and bad side. But not for Denis Villeneuve. This film can be viewed from anywhere and that’s what I like about films like this. The various types of analysis I have read are just unique and great. However, there are no different feelings after seeing the ending of this film. Jake Gyllenhaal’s incredible performance, great cinematography, great score, great directing. “Enemy” confuses mystery and thrillers but the instructions are so unique in its place.
4 out of 5 stars.