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With: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mˇlanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini
Written by: Javier Gull—n, based on a novel by Josˇ Saramago
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
MPAA Rating: R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Running Time: 90
Date: 03/14/2014

Enemy (2014)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Me Two

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Oscar-nominated Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) continues his collaboration with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, following last year's Prisoners. The result here is much tighter but far less realistic. Indeed, Enemy could easily be described as surreal. It's a mystery story, with mystery elements, but the movie does not provide much in the way of answers. It's more like a David Lynch film, with clues, emotions, images, ideas, and sensations coming together for one unique experience, with a bizarre, unforgettable ending.

Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a sad, drab history professor who gives the same lecture about dictatorships (and their repeating patterns), and goes home to the same evening routine with his girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent). One night he rents a movie and spots an actor that looks exactly like himself. He discovers the actor's name, Anthony Clair (Gyllenhaal again), and contacts him. The confident, commanding Anthony is married to the beautiful, pregnant Helen (Sarah Gadon). The two men appear to be exact doubles, and neither knows precisely what to make of it, until Anthony callously decides to steal Mary away for a weekend. Yet for Adam, the puzzle, involving a mysterious package and dreams about spiders, grows ever more complex.

Enemy begins with shots of a mysterious club involving women in sexual situations and spiders, and these nightmarish images continue to permeate the film. The movie also dabbles in notions of repeating patterns and doubled images, though not overtly. It's smart enough not to leave blatant clues or red herrings, anywhere. Based on a 2002 novel by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author José Saramago, it's a truly intriguing movie, sure to leave viewers pondering long after.

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