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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Enemy (2014)


So does that mean Maggie has a look-alike?

Anthony St. Claire (Jake Gyllenhaal) lives a simple, quiet life in Canada. He teaches history at the local college; has a girlfriend (Melanie Laurent) that he drinks with and bangs just about every night; and he doesn’t really seem to have much problems in his life, except for the fact that he’s sort of just moping around and not caring about much of anything at all. One day, however, a colleague of his recommends a movie to him in which, all of a sudden, he notices somebody in the movie who looks exactly like him. Automatically, this drives Anthony to figure out just who the hell this person is, and why it is that they look so similar to begin with. Anthony soon discovers that this man is in fact Adam Bell, a two-bit, actor with a pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon) who doesn’t like it when Anthony starts calling the house and wanting to arrange a meet between the two. Eventually though, Adam realizes that he can possibly use Anthony’s resemblance, as an advantage of sorts, in which the two could pass as one another, without anybody noticing a single difference, except for the fact that one’s a bit of a loser, and the other is an ambitious, lively-fella. Or, so we think.

There’s clearly a lot more to this story than what’s just presented up-top. For instance, you’d think that this is just a simple tale of a man who realizes he has a doppelganger, that he decides to scope-out and try to build a relationship of sorts with, that suddenly goes out-of-whack. But nope. That’s how it seems to play-out, at first, but eventually, things get to be a little haywire.

How haywire may you ask?

Leather jacket = cool.

Leather jacket = cool.

Well, Isabella Rossellini, one of film’s most recognizable faces working today, shows up for no less than three minutes on screen and just leaves, never to be seen from again.

However, that’s just the beginning of the strangeness within this movie, because once you realize that there’s more clues than you can shake a stick at here, it’s going to get very complicated to digest. Which is why, despite my enjoyment of it, I can’t say that it’s for everybody. Heck, I can’t even say fully, or wholeheartedly, that it’s for me either. What I can say is that if you like a nice mystery that doesn’t always clue you in on everything it’s trying to do or reveal, then go for this one.

But, if you’re like some ladies and gents out there that I know of, then don’t even bother with it. Not only will it make your mind hurt, and twist, and pull, and do all sorts of terrible, unhealthy things that you won’t like, it will make you want to re-watch it again, and again, and again, and again, only until you finally feel justified in saying you know exactly what happens, for what reasons, to whom, and exactly why. And even then, I can’t assure you that you’ll fully understand it.

So yeah, I may be setting this one up in a pretty big way, but I think it deserves to be. Going into this, I sort of expected a natural-thriller that would give me itty, bitty clues along the way as to what I’m supposed to think and why, but this isn’t that type of movie. You can tell that director Denis Villeneuve is clearly trying to set-up a story in which everything and everybody you see, may not be what it is you’re seeing. Is it all taking place inside of this one guy’s mind? Or, is this all actually happening the way it is presented to us, which could only mean that there are two Donnie Darko’s now gracing this fine world?

The answers never come in a clean way, and I’m not even sure if they come at all, but the movie kept me guessing and trying to connect the dots as much as I possibly could, which is you need with a good thriller. Doesn’t matter if the thriller has barely any shoot-outs or chases through dark and narrow streets; what does matter is that it at least keeps me wondering, waiting and intrigued in the characters, as well as the mysteries surrounding them. And that’s a thriller needs to do – not just for me, but for anyone who wants a little suspense and confusion thrown their way.

The only aspect of this film that I will talk-out against is that I couldn’t help but think that by the end, I didn’t get to know a single person at all. Granted, that may have been what Villeneuve set-out to do all of this time, in a way to only confuse me further, but I did wish that there was somebody I could really get behind or even feel the slightest amount of sorrow or pity for, seeing as how this world they’re in doesn’t always treat them with the best intentions. Sarah Gadon’s character comes sort of close to that kind of sympathetic-figure a movie like this needs, but even when I got to thinking about her character more and more, I felt like the only reason why I did even care for her was because she was pregnant and her husband was a bit of a dick towards her. That’s pretty much it. It didn’t seem to matter if the story on a good note, or bad one, because either way, the gal would have continued to live her life and be fine. Except now, she’d probably have the baby or something. Hell, I don’t even know if she was actually pregnant!

Damn this movie!

No leather jacket = not cool.

No leather jacket = not cool.

Anyway, besides Gadon, Jake Gyllenhaal’s one character in this movie, Anthony, comes to a close second as being the only guy I could even care about, which more or less has to do with the fact that Gyllenhaal is so damn good here at playing both characters here. Granted, it’s not all that hard to play two, different versions of a character in one movie, because when you think about it, all you really have to do is play both sides with totally opposite personalities, or rely on the make-up team to help out in making sure the audience know which character is which. Here, however, Gyllenhaal has a harder-task on his plate where he has to seemingly play two characters who are, essentially, relatively similar. Not just in the way they look like fraternal twins, but by how one character is only a tad more high-strung than the other, but not by all that much.

At first, it seemed like a really hard job for Gyllenhaal to pull-off, but somehow, he does so well with it, that I didn’t even get confused for a single bit as to whom it was that he was playing. And he does so in subtle ways; a twitch of his eye, a tone in his voice, the way he carries himself from one end of a room to another, it all felt so distinctive to whichever character he was supposed to be portraying. Yes, a little more depth into both of these characters would have made this performance so much better than just “Gyllenhaal pulling an Adaptation-like role”, but man, I have to say that this guy seems to keep on impressing me, more and more each time I see him.

Don’t ever give up, Jakie-poo. Keep on acting your rump off, and don’t let these nasty T-Swift rumors get you down. She’s a crazy chick anyway. Ammiright?

Consensus: Will most likely not make a lick of sense after the first couple or so viewings, but regardless, Enemy is still an interesting thriller that doesn’t always answer its questions in an easy manner, but does allow Jake Gyllenhaal to act very well in these dual roles of his.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"Dude, who are you?" "I'm you!" "Who?" "YOU!!"

Not-so cool guy: “Dude, who are you?”
Cool guy: “I’m you!”
Not-so cool guy: “Who?”
Cool guy: “YOU!!”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBCollider

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27 responses to “Enemy (2014)

  1. Tom April 20, 2014 at 4:54 am

    NIce review! I look forward to seeing Villeneuve’s follow-up to his thrilling Prisoners. I don’t care if this is a possible headache in the making, I am eager to see how Gyllenhaal pulls this off. Sounds like he does alright. I’m always down for a challenging movie, too

  2. Joseph@thecinemamonster April 20, 2014 at 6:21 am

    I enjoyed this slightly more than you, but definitely appreciate where you’re coming from. Just happy to actually converse with someone who’s seen the film ;).

  3. Pop Eye April 20, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Great review, Dan. While I see where you’re coming from, I absolutely adored this film and gave it a 9 out of 10. I hope to see Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal collaborate more in the future; I thought their previous effort Prisoners was great too, and Enemy, to me, is even better.

  4. thomasjford April 20, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I’ve heard good and bad about this, so it’s certainly polarising opinions, which is better than just being average!

  5. sati April 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Great review! I think in your opening paragraph you confused the two- Adam is a teacher and Anthony is the actor, I’m writing my review now and keep confusing the names too :) I really liked the film, definitely a step up from Prisoners.

  6. Mark Hobin April 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Quite possibly the best film of the first quarter of 2014. It’s a toss up between this and Under the Skin. Here’s why: http://fastfilmreviews.com/2014/03/29/enemy/

  7. robhend95 April 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Good review Dan, I may give this a watch.

  8. ThoughtsFromTheBooth April 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Now I want a nice painting of a spider attacking a city in my apartment. Good review Dan. I’m glad you liked it.

  9. rgagne April 21, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Great review Dan, I’m sorry to say this is the only review I’ve never rated because I think I understand everything that happened but I honestly feel like I still don’t get it. Amazing film though.

  10. Ulkar Alakbarova April 22, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I am planning to see this movie. But I don’t like Jake. He is not that good actors… he just ruined “The Prisoners”…

  11. The Vern April 23, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I like movies with twisty plots, but Im afraid this may be too twisty for me to enjoy. I will still watch it and enjoy being lost in the confusion. Great Job

  12. Zoë April 24, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Excellent review Dan. I must say that this is one that I am seriously looking forward to!

  13. Alex Withrow April 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Great review here buddy. And I agree, this one is a total mindfuck that is hard to wrap your head around, but wow, I loved the hell out of it. Gyllenhaal is really turning into a beast of an actor. Dude impressed me so much in this flick.

  14. Victor De Leon April 25, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I haven’t decided if I even want to watch this movie or not. I’m on the fence. Just sounds like something that will tire the crap out of me while viewing it. My mind is too fragile these days. I can’t take “deep mind screw” flicks like I used too. :) The movie is really making an impact out there, though. So maybe I’ll bite the bullet one day, who knows. Good review like always, Dan!

  15. Nika Gigashvili (@nikashvili) April 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Good review Dan! I still don’t know whether I enjoyed it or not. Too twisty for me. But I liked Jake a lot, his acting actually made it a lot easy to differentiate Adam and Anthony.

    p.s. I think you’ve got the names wrong, Adam Bell is the professor and Anthony is an actor. ;)

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  17. Nostra May 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Thought it was an awesome movie. Really enjoy these type of mind twisting type of movies (Donnie Darko immediately comes to mind). Can’t wait to see it again to see if my theory holds up.

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  20. shazza91321 June 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    This one was not for me mostly because I don’t care for JG. Good review.

  21. Daureen July 12, 2014 at 2:34 am

    This movie had soooo much potential, but the beginning and ending stunk… it was just stupid. Soooo much potential wasted. Very disappointed in that.

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