Enemy, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is an intense film that explores identity, the relationship we have with ourselves, and mental health. With sepia toned hazy urban landscapes and a haunting, cello heavy, soundtrack.
This is the sort of film that plays on your mind, it seemed to have an abrupt ending and I walked out feeling a little robbed of an explanation. But now – 2 days on I feel I can appreciate its mastery having let it settle. The film began as a sexual psychological thriller. Having not read much about the film prior to seeing it, I thought it was going to turn in to a sci-fi at one point. As this film progressed the tension and suspense remained but my concerns about the risks, and what was going to happen felt more personal. I was more concerned for the mental well-being of the characters and the long-term effect on their lives. Rather than an immediate response to the action, which is what Hollywood often goes for.
The main story line was quite simple. The path’s of two men, both played by Jake Gyllenhaal, cross when one of them; Adam, see’s the other; Antony, in a film and feels compelled to meet him as they look identical. Their lives seem polar opposite. Adam is a shy reclusive academic, a bare apartment and lack of commitment in his relationships, he seems to lack drive. Where as Antony is out going, confident and a risk taker, he owns a lush apartment and a motor bike. His wife is 6 months pregnant and they already have the nursery set up.
There are clues all the way through the film, some of which I didn’t immediately pick up, which suggest that things are not as they seem. Particularly in a scene with Adam and his mum. However the ended is still un expected and the meaning and purpose of the film aren’t rammed down your throat.
Gyllenhaal offers a strong performance as each man, both with their own idiosyncrasies. The women have little scope to show personality, but the wife in particular manages in a very short space of time toward the end of the film to show heart breaking commitment to her love.
The musty haze over the play, and the limited environment we see give an impression that these men lead lives in very small circles. In an environment with little inspiration, and lots of tower blocks.
This film is certainly worth watching, but I would recommend not watching it alone and not watching it too late at night. Otherwise you may end up pondering your own existence.