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Enemy requires viewers think the movie through

Review — Message of Jake Gyllenhaals latest film is unclear, the plot is clear yet imprecise


At first glance, “Enemy” is just a weird movie. Kind of slow, overly dramatic, everything seems so obvious. But then the film ends — and it is a film, not a movie — with a disturbing image that leaves viewers confused and a little upset.

Taking a few minutes to process what you’ve just seen, the film starts to grow on you. Or at the very least, drive you a little mad wondering what it is that you’ve just seen. But that’s director Denis Villeneuve’s goal: to make the audience think.by: RHOMBUS MEDIA - Seeing double - Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Adam Bell (left) and Anthony Clair in a psychological thriller based on Jose Saramago's ‘The Double.'

Categorized as a “psychological thriller,” it is an adaptation of Portuguese writer Jose Saramago’s 2002 novel “The Double.” Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as both Adam Bell (a history professor) and Anthony Clair (a D-list actor), Bell is fighting depression when he watches a movie and notices an actor who looks just like him. This plunges him into a spiral of paranoia and anxiety, with a deep need to find out who the look-alike is. The film follows the book fairly closely, but where it differs is where logic begins to fail.

This failure is what will make the film popular among thinkers in the audience as it sets itself up for speculation, theories and heated discussion boards.

As for the technical aspects of the film, it lacked much of a soundtrack, but that was an advantage in setting the mood Villeneuve was aiming for. The silence alternated with minimal bassoon bumblings forced the audience to focus on the message, although what that message was isn’t completely clear. In an interview with www.RogerEbert.com, he said he was drawn to the idea that repetition is hell.

“If you don’t deal with your shadows, you are condemned to repeat the same mistake over and over, as a human being or as a society,” Villeneuve said.

Maybe the film is trying to shed light on the dangers of repeating history, a theme made painfully obvious in the opening scenes. Maybe it’s meant to show there are two sides to every person. Maybe it’s just a weird movie with giant spiders.

“Enemy” opens March 28.



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