Enemy is the latest film from Denis Villeneuve, director of Prisoners, my favourite film from last year. Enemy follows the story of Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young high school teacher who, at the recommendation of a colleague, one night decides to go rent a movie. While watching this movie, he notices that one of the actors (also played by Jake Gyllenhaal) looks identical to himself. Adam, unable to stop thinking about this man, soon begins on a quest to go out and find his mysterious double.
Enemy is not a film for everybody, it's infuriatingly important that I get this out of the way. Enemy, unfortunately, didn't receive an Australian theatrical release, but instead was released directly to DVD and Blu-Ray. While this is disappointing, it's also understandable. It would not have made a lot of money here. The film's content isn't overly inappropriate, minus the few sex scenes, but this movie is for us lovers of film. It is for anybody who has a remote interest in filmmaking as an art form. If there's anybody who's reading this that, and I hope there are a few, have an interest in making films or studying films or even critiquing films, then this film is a necessity.
Jake Gyllenhall gives one of the, if not the greatest performance of his career. Sure, he's given terrific performances in films such as Prisoners, Donnie Darko and Zodiac, admittedly I am yet to see Brokeback Mountain, but Enemy will be up there as one of his greatest performances. Not only does he manage to perfect the character of Adam, but he also plays Anthony, whom he perfects also.
Enemy is not a film that follows the traditional story structure. There have been many films in the past that attempt to bypass their way around the three act structure, many of these are considered masterpieces, and Enemy is one that slots into this category. It's a film that takes its time to start up, it isn't until halfway through the film that Adam and Anthony meet, and once it does, the structure is lost completely. There's no second and third act, just a series of engaging events, each with metaphorical meanings.
The film uses particular imagery throughout, all of which lead up to one of the most frightening and jaw dropping endings in history. There are multiple shots in this film that really make your heart pound. Not only do they arise questions as to their belonging, but they also help maintain the audience's already divided attention. By far, the most disturbing, upsetting and controversial moment in this film takes place in the final few seconds. The shot is one that leaves audiences both puzzled and curious as to what just happened.
To sum up, Enemy is a film intended for film lovers, a necessary one even. It's a film with metaphorical meanings, controversial images, an incredible performance by Jake Gyllenhaal and an ending that will leave you jaw dropped.