“Chaos is order yet undeciphered.”–epigraph to Enemy
DIRECTED BY: Denis Villeneuve
FEATURING: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Mélanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini
PLOT: Adam, a professor of history, catches sight of a movie extra playing a bellhop who appears to be his exact double, and becomes obsessed with tracking him down. When they eventually meet they discover that Anthony, the actor, is Adam’s exact physical match, but has a nearly opposite personality, slick and scheming where Adam is passive and meek. Anthony, who has a rocky relationship with pregnant wife due to her accusations of infidelity, is drawn to Adam’s girlfriend; and though the professor wants to withdraw from their association, the actor’s machinations intertwine the two men’s lives.
- Enemy is based on the novel “O Homem Duplicado” (literally “The Duplicated Man,” although the English translation was titled “The Double“) by the Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago. The novel has a very different, though equally chilling, ending than the film.
- Director Denis Villeneuve and star Jake Gyllenhaal made Enemy back-to-back with the higher-profile, reality-based thriller Prisoners (2013). Enemy was made first but released second.
- Villeneuve said that the plan to do the adaptation with Gyllenhaal came after a night of drinking in which the actor told the director he wanted to do the movie but needed to “dream” about it first.
- Villeneuve said he wanted to make Enemy because he wanted to do something “free” in light of his anxieties over working under the constraints he feared would be imposed by a Hollywood studio on the upcoming Prisoners.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Enemy is one of a few movies whose most unforgettable image can’t be mentioned without entering the territory where spoilers dwell. Fortunately, there are plenty of runner-ups to chose from. With arachnid imagery dominating the hallucinatory scenes, it’s easy to pick the picture of a giant, spindly-legged spider looming over the smoggy streets of Toronto as the film’s iconic image. The movie’s TIFF poster took that precise route.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: As tightly controlled as a dictatorship and as enigmatic as a tarantula on a gold serving platter, the inscrutable Enemy evokes a panicky existential dread in the tradition of David Lynch. The final scene will provoke debate for as long as people watch weird movies.
Original trailer for Enemy
COMMENTS: Enemy begins with the epigram “chaos is order yet undeciphered,” and I admit to having yet to decipher the twisty web of chaos the Continue reading 176. ENEMY (2013)