Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Enemy’ Review: Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon & Melanie Laurent

Jake Gyllenhaal re-teaming with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve ended up producing one of the best and most thought-provoking films of the year. Enemy is a mystery, drama, and thriller and horror story all combined into one genius film that has an ending so mind-blowing and shocking that it will be studied and discussed for years to come.

Based on the novel “The Double” written by Jose Saramago and the screenplay adapted by Javier Gullon, Enemy tells the story of Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a bored history professor who lives a hum-drum life while his girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent) comes over at night for a little roll-around in bed.

Looking for a little pick-me-up, Adam rents a movie that someone recommended to him and he spots his double, a small-part actor named Anthony Clair. Adam goes looking for Anthony and once he tracks him down, the two decide to meet face to face. After their initial meeting, Adam and Anthony’s lives become intertwined as obscure and ambiguous events happen in the aftermath.

enemy jake gyllenhaal

Filmed against the Toronto backdrop, Enemy is not just a doppelgänger story, but also a story about love, lust, passion, jealousy, greed and spiders. No plot twists should dare to be given away, as the viewer should no little about the story before diving in to the film. One of the most intriguing parts about Enemy is that Villeneuve slips symbols and clues throughout the film that hint at what the underlying story is about, but he never treats the viewer like a child, leaving us to our own conclusions about the story.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of the best performances of the year as Adam and his doppelgänger Anthony. Physically, it’s almost impossible to decipher the two but Gyllenhaal gives the two such different personalities and character traits it’s clear to tell who is who in the scenes of them together. Gyllenhaal’s performance is bound to be underrated since it is such an internal one but it is some of the best acting we’ve seen all year. He is able to portray the introverted and gentle Adam Bell and the cocky and confident Anthony Clair without confusing the viewer.

enemy sarah gadon

Sarah Gadon is exceptional as Anthony’s pregnant wife Helen, who knows something is going on with her husband underneath the surface. Another great point about this screenplay is that Helen isn’t written as the unsure and nagging wife, she’s smart and given more to do than just sit around in her apartment.

Enemy is a film that only becomes more enchanting upon each viewing as it is impossible to pick up on everything in the first watch. Led by a strong performance by Jake Gyllenhaal and excellent direction by Denis Villeneuve, Enemy is a powerful and challenging film that is puzzling in the best way possible. The final shot of the film should not dare be given away so that when one sees it or recalls it, it should affect the course of your breathing.

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