07th Feb2015

‘Enemy’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Kedar Brown, Darryl Dinn, Misha Highstead, Megan Mane, Alexis Uiga | Written by Javier Gullón | Directed by Denis Villeneuve


What would you do if you found a person who is your exact copy? Would you hunt this doppelgänger down and try to connect with them and risk the result being not what you expected? Enemy is a film that on face value looks at this situation, but when you look at it deeper is so much more.

When Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) a history lecturer is given a film recommendation he notices an actor who looks very much like him.  Researching the star known as Anthony Claire (also Gyllenhaal) Adam decide to try to contact him, but when they finally meet he realises his mistake.  Soon the actor becomes obsessed with the history teacher and what he can get out of the situation for his own means.

Adam and Anthony are two characters who are complete opposites.  Adam is quiet and dreams of a happy life full of commitment and even the chance of being an actor where Anthony has the life of an actor but is somewhat bored with his relationship with his pregnant wife.  Both characters look at each other with envy but where Adam accepts that he made a mistake, Anthony decides that he can take Adam’s place and more importantly steal a night with his girlfriend.  This is of course the concept of Enemy at face value, but the symbolism at work shows the true nature of the film and decipher what we are actually seeing, which is that Adam and Anthony are in face the same person, just two side of him.

The two men represent the two sides of human nature, and highlight the fact that your greatest Enemy can be yourself.  Throughout the film we see images of spiders stalking the characters and manipulating events.  These spiders represent the danger of commitment in relationships, and what is truly wanted out of them.  This is the problem the two men have in their lives and is highlighted at the end of the film.  It can be confusing but once you pull away from the literal meaning and try to interpret the symbolism on show you will decide for yourself what the film represents to you.

While Enemy takes place in a big city the cast is actually small with most of the focus being on Adam/Anthony, Adam’s girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent) and Anthony’s pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon).  The women both play their parts well, each representing the detachment of a no-commitment relationship and the full commitment of a marriage and building a family respectfully.  Adam longs for more commitment from Mary, but the way she constantly removes herself from the situation shows she doesn’t want the same.  Anthony on the other hand looks further afield for his sexual gratification leaving his wife to fear the loss of her husband.  Enemy analyses these relationships and in the end just as we may feel that everything is perfect the final shock is unforgettable but thought-provoking.

Even though I have given my interpretation of what I believe Enemy is saying to me, I dare say that after you’ve watched it you’ll come up with something different, it is that type of film.  Jake Gyllenhaal puts on a good performance as the two main characters as do Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon, and within the chaos of the plot these performances are needed for the film to work.  The films last gift to the audience is to leave them with no idea of what the future holds for the characters and that is the most thought-provoking achievement of them all.

Enemy is available on DVD and Blu-ray from February 9th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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