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Enemy film review 

Wednesday, Mar 19 2014
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Jake Gyllenhaal is forced to confront himself — both figuratively and literally — in Enemy, a haunting Kafkaesque tale about identity (loosely adapted from a José Saramago novel) about a schoolteacher named Adam (Gyllenhaal) who while watching a movie discovers an actor who's his exact duplicate. That doppelganger is named Anthony (also Gyllenhaal), whose existence stirs in Adam an existential dread that director Denis Villeneuve — in his second straight collaboration with Gyllenhaal, after last year's Prisoners — enhances via methodical camerawork full of compositions in which his protagonists are dwarfed by towering, spiraling mirror-image architecture, as well as a thumping-bass score that suggests imminent danger. That Adam and Anthony are identical in every way, including the fact that Anthony's girlfriend (Mélanie Laurent) and Adam's pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon) are eerily similar looking blondes, is an explicable circumstance that Villeneuve leaves drenched in ambiguity. An opening scene of Anthony attending a secret basement sex club where towering strippers stomp spiders only further enhances the overarching mood of bewildering malevolence. While the director's refusal to provide lucid answers to his scenario can at times make the film seem like one big tease, the overarching effect is both beguiling and unsettling. Bolstered by superb dual lead turns by Gyllenhaal, it's a hazy head-trip with a finale of disquieting monstrousness.

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Nick Schager

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