Control, it is all about control. Every dictatorship has one obsession and that’s it. [..] Strategies to limit information, ideas, knowledge. How do they do that? Lower education, they limit culture, censor information. [..] This is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history – Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Directors could be compared with dictators. For the length that the audience is watching a movie they decide which information they get to see. By limiting it or showing it slightly different a director is able to build up the tension or control expectations. With their “suspension of disbelief” the movie watcher happily gives the movie maker that control. Enemy is the newest movie by Denis Villeneuve (who was also responsible for the fantasticPrisoners) with Jake Gyllenhaal in a double role.
Straight from the opening of Enemy a specific tone is set. Gyllenhaal’s character walks into a sex club where lots of men are obsessively watching a show. The atmosphere is strange and when a silver platter is put on stage and is opened you really start to wonder what the hell you are watching. The dark look and threathening, almost uncomfortable soundtrack is present throughtout the film and fits its story perfectly.
Adam Bell is a teacher who seems to be stuck in his daily routine and has lost all feeling for the things he is doing and the people around him. When a colleague suggest he’d rent a specific movie he decides to do so and he makes a shocking discovery. One of the actors in the film looks exactly like him. It is the start of an obsession and when he finds out more about the actor he decides to contact him. The movie builds on this strange idea and one shock is followed by the next. Both men struggle with the situation and it starts to take effect on their psyche. They both try to take control of the situation, but this also has impact on the women in their lives.
Jake Gyllenhaal is great in his double role and he succeeds in portraying to very different characters. You will always know which one of the two he is playing. The teacher comes across very unsure of himself and the actor is someone who seems to be in control of everything.
Enemy is a very challenging movie to watch, which forces you to think and has already lead to a lot of discussion. Because Villeneuve has put it all together so expertedly and doesn’t seem to want give the viewer all the information you want to figure it all out. It is one of those movies you’ll want to watch a second time to check if your explanation of it holds up. Even then you’ll probably have some questions, but with such a great movie that isn’t a problem. It is a psychological film with horror elements you won’t forget soon.