A thought-provoking Lynchian thriller.

From the director of Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve’s latest offering, Enemy, is hypnotic and captivating, leaving you to ponder what you’ve just seen hours after watching. Enemy is based on the novel by José Saramago, who died in 2010, and is the last of several of his works that made it to film.

Like with Prisoners, Villeneuve creates a sense of doom and foreboding, by using a dull palette along with a great score from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (Martha Marcy May Marlene), which helped to make watching Enemy a memorable experience. Right from the getgo the film felt special, and by the end I knew I had seen a movie that some will dislike for being, at times, ambiguous, however, I’m confident most will find it a rewarding experience because of the Lynchian approach by Villeneuve.

Directed by
Denis Villeneuve
Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Release Date
Nav’s Grade: A

Enemy tells the story of a college history professor, Adam, who watches a film and sees an actor who is his exact double. After investigating and watching more of the actor’s movies, Adam learns the man’s name is Anthony, and he eventually makes contact by calling his house. Even their wives can’t tell them apart, as they have matching scars on the same place on their body. While Adam is a bit of an introvert, Anthony is more confidant, and we learn he has a roving eye, which his pregnant wife, Helen (Sarah Gadon), reminds him of. When they finally meet face to face, there appears to be a connection, but Adam gets cold feet and takes off, however, Anthony, who is unhappy with the way his life is going, sees an opportunity.

The lovely Mélanie Laurent (Now You See Me) plays Mary, wife of Adam, who like Helen isn’t happy with her husband. Laurent didn’t really get a chance to do much of anything, thanks to having little screen time, and her part could have been played by anyone. Sarah Gadon played Anthony’s 6-month pregnant wife, who also didn’t have a lot to do, but like Laurent, did well with what little she did have. Gadon performed a couple of the scenes nude, showing her swollen belly, which looked pretty realistic.

Jake Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, had everything to do, and did it exceptionally well, as he played both Adam and Anthony convincingly. Though he was playing two characters who were physically identical, even when they were dressed the same, Gyllenhaal put on a great performance, creating two separate people who you could tell apart, but without it looking obvious. As mentioned, I can see some people being confused by the story, but if you pay close attention to the many clues that are given, you should be able to piece it together, however, not all films are meant to be fully understood, and instead allow that the audience are intelligent enough to fill in the blanks. Or, like me, you could go to the film’s Wiki page, where you can find out the connection these two characters share.

Review by Nav Qateel