The final five seconds of this movie is currently blowing my mind in about a thousand different ways. Just….what?! I jumped, I laughed, I got ridiculously confused. That….what….I don’t even know how to talk about this movie. I am certainly glad that I watched it but in this moment I honestly can’t even say if I liked it or not.
How in the hell to summarize this thing….ok. So Jake Gyllenhaal is a teacher who one day is watching a movie that was recommended to him and he sees that one of the background characters looks completely identical to him. He becomes obsessed and eventually tracks the guy down. Then a whole bunch of other stuff happens that I don’t want to talk about but at the same time I’m not even sure that I could talk about it as it’s all completely fucking crazy but at the same time it’s a very low key movie that many I’m sure would call boring. I would certainly not call it that.
Man, when the hell did Jake Gyllenhaal get so damn good? There was Prisoners and now this one and I’ve heard even better things about his performance in the upcoming Nightcrawler. I mean he was always solid but my god this guy is slowly becoming unstoppable. So yes he is very good in this movie, handling the two different versions of this guy perfectly as while they look the same it’s important they are given enough of a difference in their behavior and mannerisms that they are distinct and Jake does so perfectly. He is surrounded by a bunch of other great actors including Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon and Isabella Rossellini but this is largely the Gyllenhaal hour and he really does shine.
While Enemy is by no means a straight up horror movie, the last minute or so of the film notwithstanding, it is certainly unsettling. The tone is set perfectly in the opening sequence which features one of the Jakes watching a strange and exclusive sex show that concludes with a woman in high heels about to squash a giant spider underneath her foot. Everything about the movie just feels uncomfortable, but in a good way. I realize that makes zero sense but it’s really the best description I can come up with right now. Everything moves at a very methodical pace but it never fails to remain interesting.
Also how cool is it to have a movie this Canadian? Not only was it filmed in Toronto but it actually takes place in Toronto as well! Those Toronto landmarks in the backgrounds and establishing shots aren’t fuck ups like in most movies! They really are supposed to be there! Sorry but as a Canadian it is very exciting to see our country get some proper love as I don’t believe such a thing has happened since probably Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Not to mention an iconic Ottawa statue plays a prominent role so we got Canada representing all over this shit!
I already mentioned this but I feel it’s worth repeating – Enemy does not provide you with easy answers. Personally it didn’t even provide me with slightly difficult answers. I was completely baffled when this thing ended and actually started scouring through the movie a second time to desperately try and connect all of the pieces (second time I’ve done that this month after Kill List). Thankfully I discovered that seemingly you can indeed sort out what is happening as I was able to piece together a theory I was pleased with and after some Internet searching, discovered it is amongst the most popular theories. I still had to look up a few things to fill in the gaps but I got there and damn if it didn’t feel pretty rewarding in the end.
Enemy is absolutely 100% not going to be for everyone and I can see how someone could walk away absolutely seething with hate for this movie. I dug it though. It has great atmosphere, terrific performances and a twisting plot that makes you work for the solutions. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s certainly a worthwhile one.