R / 1h 31m / Mystery, Thriller
What’s important is to remember that [dictatorship] is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history.
There are films that come along that make you want to watch them over again – they’re meaningful, shot beautifully, have a great soundtrack , are timelessly funny, heartwarming to the point of hysterical tears, ect. – personally, I’ve seen a good number of films that I would voluntarily experience again.
But then there are films that absolutely force you to watch them over again because the whole plot was piecing together a resolution that finally makes sense. Said films keep you up at night thinking about all the little things you should have noticed as a seasoned watcher and all the things that were very pleasantly placed that there was no way you could have noticed even as a seasoned watcher. They haunt you. They linger until you watch them through a second, maybe even third time with what you came to know.
Enemy is one of those films.
And the more I think about it, the more I like it.
There’s truly no reason for me to dislike this film – it has everything I love: Jake Gyllenhaal, metaphors, reality teases and cinematography that matches the overall feel – but sitting through it the first time I was not crazy about not having a handle on this environment I was thrust into. There were some points that I even resented my watching of it.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrays a history teacher, Adam, who stumbles upon a very (I mean very) (I’m talking credited Bellhop #3) low rate actor that is his spitting image, Anthony, and it takes over him. What follows is a strange ride down the road of comparison, commitment issues, and enormous spiders.
Yes, I said enormous spiders – one of my lesser favorite things about this film – there’s no published reason behind them or their prevalence but I will get into my theories below.
If you pay attention, you’ll figure out the real question around Adam and Anthony. I won’t spoil it – I want you to go home and watch this. It’s 4 years old for christ’s sake. I figured it out about 3/4 of the way, JUST because of the dialogue. Honestly, I would have tightened it up to keep the secret longer but that’s just me. If it had ended without any incriminating dialogue I would have been more susceptible to loving this film – but I think it was afraid people wouldn’t get it.
Well, they were right. Even with the give away dialogue, people still don’t get it. And I HATE that. THIS IS A JOURNEY ABOUT A DISCOVERY OF SELF. A TEST OF PERSONAL COMMITMENT. AN ODE TO EVERYTHING WE WISH WE COULD HAVE BEEN. I hate explaining to people the significance of Gyllenhaal’s dramatic movies. #1 being Donnie Darko (2001) – WATCH THE DIRECTOR’S CUT YALL. DAMN. IT ISN’T THAT HARD TO WRAP YOUR MIND AROUND AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. #2 being Nocturnal Animals (2016) – DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE METAPHOR. DAMNIT, IT WAS MADE VERY CLEAR THAT HE IS A WRITER AND HE LOST HIS FAMILY. #3 Nightcrawler (2014) – WHAT THE HECK WOULD YOU DO IF YOU MADE TONS OF MONEY FILMING GORE?? and let’s just go ahead and throw Demolition (2015) in there – IT’S. A FUCKIN. METAPHOR. YALL.
It bothers me that Jake hasn’t been awarded for more of his work. I will die if he is remembered only for being nominated for his portrayal of Heath Ledger’s angry cowboy boyfriend.
One of the best things that works for Enemy is how it’s shot. It’s either really dark – which makes you feel like you’re in the dark – and let’s be honest, you are for most of it – or it’s well lit but thrown under a warm filter. I am not a fan of filtering scenes – they make me feel icky and unreal. But the warmth here worked with the familiarity aspect for both the watchers and the main character, Adam, as he was on his journey of self for 90 minutes.
Back to the spiders – the men have their own respective relationships, but Adam is the one affected by the arachnids, which as the film unfolds, you begin to suspect they are little reminders one places in the back of one’s head with intentions to ignore – and this little reminder just so happens to be someone that loves him. YEAH. HE’S JUST TRYNA LIVE AND INSTEAD HE’S BEING TERRORIZED. and yall, they only get bigger and more demanding.
I hope you can see how that all ties in together – I just don’t want to spoil it.
A couple of paragraphs ago I said that I would be more susceptible to loving this film if the dialogue didn’t give it away – and I truly, truly mean that. I want more films to be unapologetic. I want story to flow without words sometimes. Trust me, it can be accomplished. I enjoyed Enemy when it was all said and done… and even though it begs for a second watch, I won’t right away. I’m simmering in this nicely executed psychological thriller for now. Going forward, I stand firm with Jake Gyllenhaal and these crazy meta dramas he’s giving us. I can’t wait for the day the Academy sees what I do in him.