on December 27, 2014
There's the surface level story as given in the movie's premise (a man seeking out his doppelganger, and getting more than he bargained for), and the movie can be enjoyed purely on that level as a creepy thriller. The movie can also be enjoyed on another level entirely, and there's no twists or tricks here, despite what you may have heard. If you're waiting for "the truth" to be revealed at the end like it's a Saw movie, you will be disappointed. All the pieces are there for you to put together, if you have the patience...the movie is only 90 minutes long. Millions of people sit through 150-minute long Transformers movies every few years, so do give this movie a try.
Don't assume everything you're seeing in regards to Adam and Anthony is the literal truth. But pay close attention to how every other character reacts to them. Everything the other characters do is true and reveals what's really happening.
MAJOR SPOILERS (If you just want to know already):
It's pretty clearly telegraphed throughout the movie that they are the same person. Anthony is Adam's past. Adam confronting Anthony is actually Adam facing up to the fact that he used to be a total jerk, and was reverting to that persona to his pregnant wife (which explains her distress with Anthony, and her happiness/acceptance when Adam takes Anthony's place). It wasn't a coincidence that Adam's coworker suggested that particular movie to watch...he had seen it, and recognized Adam/Anthony in it from his acting days. Mary freaking out at Anthony's wedding ring tan wasn't panic over realizing Anthony was a fake, the whole scene was a memory from the past when Mary discovered that her boyfriend was actually married to someone else, and was cheating with her. The theme of the movie is that we become different people over the course of our lives, and confronting our past can be like meeting a doppelganger. As for the spiders? I consider that extra flavor, adding to the creepy atmosphere, but people are welcome to go crazy trying to over-interpret it. Maybe it says something about how Adam/Anthony sees women, or about his fear of impending fatherhood, but I really do believe the focus of the movie is simply Adam coming to grips with who he used to be.
on June 10, 2014
It's very difficult to decipher, and you have to really think about things like symbolism. Nothing is handed to the viewer. I'm not surprised by all the one-star reviews, but if you like a movie that forces you to think about what you just watched--rather than merely entertain you (which is also a lot of fun, don't get me wrong), you might just enjoy this movie. Plus, there's always Youtube for explanations.
on April 7, 2014
There are very few actors that can continue to surprise me in every role they take on, reinventing themselves each time they're on screen, and Jake Gyllenhaal is nearing the top of that list. The name alone may not be something you recognize, but you've probably seen him as the exhilarating lead in "Source Code" and several other films like "End of Watch" and last year's "Prisoners". He's one of the most underrated people in Hollywood, and almost always provides an impeccable performance that won't let you forget his face. His latest part in the mind-bending mystery `Enemy' does just the same, and he proves once again how spectacular he can be.
This slow burning thriller follows a depressed history professor named Adam (Gyllenhaal) who unexpectedly, while watching a movie, discovers an actor who could be his twin. On a mission to meet this man, he stalks, and eventually finds him. We see their lives quickly become intertwined, even if it may not be in the greatest of ways. Intriguing and ultimately fascinating, this is one of the most interesting and odd movies of the year.
It certainly isn't for everyone, with a `love it or hate it' type of response, but I was totally engaged and couldn't take my eyes off of it. It may not be universally loved, but I found it to be a daring movie that needs to be watched more than once to completely grasp. Rated R for language and sexual content, "Enemy" needs to be seen to be believed.
on April 27, 2014
This is an open-ended (described as a "spiral") story that can be interpreted in several ways and will leave you with more questions than answers. If you are looking for something linear, look elsewhere.
This work has a cult classic feel to it. That doesn't mean it will become a cult classic, but if you like slightly dark, mysterious, medium-paced, "think pieces", then give this one a try.
I especially liked the audio. It's overboard, but really adds to the edgy feel of this movie.
on April 27, 2014
Dark and twisty, Enemy will mess with your mind and if you like this type of movie, it will have you re-watching for all the subtle clues and hints that help to explain the story. I say "help to explain" because ultimately, there is no simple, straight-line narrative to follow as you think about what you watched. Filmed in a hazy, brownish-yellow tint, it feels as sinister and creepy as a nightmare as you follow history teacher Adam Bell on a frightening journey that even he cannot explain. Jake Gyllenhaal in the dual roles of Adam and his exact double Anthony (an actor) is incredible. How can two identical men - who have never met each other - be so different in every aspect of their personalities? Something is going on in all this murkiness that Anthony's wife finds deeply disturbing, much more so than her husband's usual casual infidelities. The final shocking, eerie scene may leave an indelible image burned into your brain - and send you back for another viewing when you try to put all the pieces together. The best approach to this movie may be to experience it on an emotional, psychological level rather than as just another, albeit superior, thriller.
on June 18, 2015
This film was loosely based on the novel, "The Double", by the Portuguese author Jose Saramago who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. Yeah--probably like me, you haven't read many of his novels since they were Portuguese...
The cast had questions about the meaning of the script and the director said any of them could ask the author what he had in mind and the author said he'd be glad to respond. Then the author died. I suspect had he lived and the cast asked him questions, he would have told them he didn't have answers anyway, as he wanted the reader to be an active participant in the meaning of the story. Therefore some things are left ambiguous.
His death also freed up the director and script writing, to depart a little more from the novel without having to worry about the author feeling offended.
I got this in Blu-Ray mainly on the strength of the cast and what sounded like an intriguing plot line: a man finds that he has a double in the world. Now I'd like to switch to what it's like to watch the film, and emphasize a few points:
The film presents three statements (in print or vocally--there are some other statements that are visual, that I'll come back to) which should be seen as related to each other and to the story as a whole. The first one appears in print on the black screen before the movie proper begins: Chaos is order yet unrecognized. The second and third come from the history-teacher Gyllenhaal's mouth: "That totalitarian states all have one overarching goal: control of power. How they achieve it varies somewhat from case to case, but it usually involves controlling education, controlling media, or freedom of speech and financial controls, and may go as far as control over life or death <but this means the prior controls aren't working>. AND THIS IS A THEME IN HISTORY. It occurs over and over again." Statement three <getting closer to the plot-line> "That Hegel said all really important events occur twice. To that Karl Marx added: The first time is a tragedy, and the second time is a farce."
This is like watching the least horrifying horror film you've ever seen. That is, there's no blood, no exorcist, no clear supernatural powers, no murders etc. --yet the overall effect is rather like watching a stylish horror movie.
Or it may be compared to watching a dream--a somewhat disturbing dream--on your TV. Things start up midway through for no apparent reason, and the story ends without quite ending, like you woke from a dream without knowing exactly what the ending was supposed to be.
The history-teacher version of Gyllenhaal starts the story off. He has a live-in girlfriend and seems as interested in philosophy as in history, but he also looks profoundly depressed--like he feels there must be some greater meaning to life and it hasn't been revealed to him yet. Then in a seemingly casual conversation someone recommends a film to him. He rents the movie, and partway through, in a small role, he sees: HIMSELF. Fascinated he has to back it up, study the face, find the actor's name in the credits--then try to find out how to contact the actor who looks like he could be an identical twin <of course, both history teacher and actor are played by Gyllenhaal, who alters nothing except his clothing to depict the differences>.
But this isn't actually where the movie begins either. It actually begins with a scene that looks as if it could have been culled from "Eyes Wide Shut", or way before that from the writings of the Marquis de Sade. This opening vignette plays out without a word being spoken. And in fact, that's the way quite a bit of the movie plays out.
Much of the "story" is told visually--whether depicting the environment, or simply the expressions on faces. Dialog is kept to the minimum needed to keep the story going forward. There are long sections of silence, in which often it's history-teacher Gyllenhaal simply sits thinking, looking troubled. The audience is left to fill in the blanks as to what exactly he's thinking.
There are several visual motifs which predominate. Very early you'll see the spider/spider-web motif. Then, there is the color-tone: almost all of it soft, glowing gold on dark brown or black. Simultaneously looking both luxurious and dangerous. Finally, there's the "space-goat" motif <just to throw in a totally obscure reference.> Images that aren't explained, leaving the audience again to reach its own ideas on whether they are meant to actually depict some hidden reality, or whether Gyllenhaal is hallucinating, or whether they are just images he sees in his mind's eye as metaphors for reality. Some look like they could have been plucked out of "War of the Worlds", and some connect vaguely to "The Matrix" and the idea that what you see about you isn't the real world.
I don't want to give away any more plot, I'll just say that the principle actors include Gyllenhaal x 2 and his two significant others <who also look superficially alike>, both beautiful blondes with blue eyes and very fair skin: Melanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon. Oh of course: the cinematography makes very little use of CG or such tricks, but is nicely done and beautiful in places. The soundtrack: one wouldn't necessarily want to call it "music" or certainly not songs. The soundtrack, when it's layered on, always contributes to the sense of ominous suspense.
I hope you enjoy the film, as I did--it helps if you aren't expecting it to tell a straightforward story but to be more like, as I said, watching a long dream on the screen. You're eyes are feeling heavy now...
on June 16, 2015
for the most part I couldn't tell what the H was going on....when I finally came to some determination, it wasn't worth the watch. There is no explanation in the entire movie why one was obsessed with the other or why this all was happening in the first place....and don't even get me started on the ending! Really bad movie and a total waste of time.
on January 3, 2016
An easy way to look at this films plot is through paranoia. It's a fairly significant plot motivator. The rest of the movie doesn't give itself away easily, and it's one that really benefits from a second viewing.
Its also about oppression. This movie really succeeds in creating a tense and foreboding atmosphere. The location shots celebrate brutalism archetecture. And things that seem like incidental symbolism in shots become even more oppressive the more you notice them. Thematically, this film does so many things right.
Now, this is a tough movie to recommend, because of how heavily steeped it is in symbolism and perception. But I would say that the story on the surface that of a man who encounters someone who looks just like him, is good enough to carry the film on its own.
The cast does actually good job of acting believable, and keeping you on your toes through their actions and interactions. This was a movie here I honestly couldn't predict what would happen, but I felt that everything worked towards satisfactory conclusions.
Also, this is the kind of film where I don't think doing some reading into it after the film is such a bad idea. It did help to open my eyes to at least one bit of symbolism that went totally over my head. And yeah, knowing such things did enhance my enjoyment of the film.
The only issues I have with this film is in parts of its execution. It isn't a perfect film, but it is an enjoyable watch, if you go into it with an open mind and open expectations. And if it leaves you scratching your head, there's no shame in reading up on it after the fact.
on June 6, 2016
If you enjoy movies where you have to do a lot of thinking on your own than you will probably like this move. It's a very artful movie that requires you you to do some interpretation, but if you watch carefully you'll get the big picture. I really like the concept of the movie but not a big fan of the fact that there are little things that can't really be explained. But maybe that's the point.
FOR THOSE OF YOU CONFUSED BY THE MOVIE (BELIEVE ME I WAS CONFUSED TOO): I looked it up and according to Denis Villeneuve, the director, the movie is about Adam/Anthony facing his decisions through the eyes of his subconscious. I'm thinking the spiders were hinting at the fact that it was going on his mind because there were scenes with giant spiders and he would wake up immediately after as if they were nightmares. There are still some unanswered questions throughout the movie but I think it clears up a lot of things.
on June 28, 2015
Confusing movie - if you read online, there are a lot of theories , but I don't think anyone really knows what this movie is about. It's trying to be artsy, but it missed. Maybe it was over-edited. I like Jake G and the acting was good, so I gave it 3 stars.