Enemy is a psychological thriller adopted from the novel, The Double, which was written by Nobel Prize winning author Jose Saramago. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (who also directed Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners) this doppelganger theme has a hallucinatory quality of a dream that keeps us transfixed.
Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with Villeneuve and plays Adam Bell, a quiet, introverted, bored, seemingly uncongenial history professor. Adam appears to be bored with life, his job and his girlfriend, Mary (Melanie Laurent). While on break at work a co-worker recommends a film for Adam to watch. After routine, unfulfilling sex with his girlfriend he decides to watch the recommended movie. He sees an extra in the film that looks exactly like him. A force propels him to “google” the actor’s name and Adam embarks on a curious search for his identical twin.
Gyllenhaal takes us on a journey of dizzying emotions and paranoia while investigating the life of his twin. Adam starts to unravel emotionally and mentally to the point where we are unsure if this is a dream or actually happening. After timid phone calls he finally meets his twin and the meeting between the two is both unnerving and scintillating. Adam’s twin appears to be everything he’s not. Successful, confident, a loving husband, and outgoing, but we sense that something is wrong. Twin Adam has a pregnant wife, Helen, (Sarah Goden) who suspiciously went to Adam’s school and spies on him. Helen’s surprise and curiosity was delightedly eerie.
Villeneuve is adept at pulling two separate performances out of Gyllenhaal for two characters that are polar opposites. Its Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of these two characters that is mesmerizing. Although the pacing can be slow and manipulated at times, the visuals play appropriately in creating the mood and effects required to create the tension and suspension that propels the story forward.
The final scene is one of the most unexpected and bewildering scenes in cinematic history. I was left wondering whether I missed something or dozed off and woke up in a different movie. That alone made me watch the film for a second time which left me with the same perplexed satisfaction of witnessing creative storytelling that is both creepy and fulfilling. The lesson here is that finding your twin is a trip into bizarro land.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Melanie Laurent
Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Company: A24 fILMS
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: r (sexual content, language, nudity)