(2013, dir: Denis Villeneuve)
I loved Villeneuve’s Prisoners. I thought it was a powerful, tense and devastating thriller. A very brave film dealing with a subject matter that some directors would struggle to tackle. Not only that, but Hugh Jackman (X-Men) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarhead) put in fantastic performances. When I heard Curzon were releasing his latest feature, I knew I had to jump on it. Was I as amazed this time around? I actually don’t know what to think in all honesty. Before I get in to that, let me quickly go over the plot.
Gyllenhaal stars as Adam, a university lecturer who not only struggles to keep the interest of his students, but also struggles to keep his fading relationship a float with his girlfriend Mary, played by Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds). After having a brief conversation with a colleague about a local film, Adam, a person who doesn’t have any interest in the world of film, decides to rent out the film from his local rental shop. His life takes a surreal turn after viewing. You see, one of the actors in the film (an extra more than anything else) bears a striking resemblence to Adam. In fact, he’s identicle. Adam begins his journey of tracking the guy down. He becomes obsessed with working out what the Hell is going on. When he finally tracks the actor down, his life becomes a whole lot more complex and something danbgerous. Adam’s double is an arrogant polarising opposite of himself. After finally meeting, no one’s life will be the same again. That’s the film in a nutshell. I have purpousfully left out a lot of what happenes because just like The Usual Suspects, this is a film to go in to blind and to watch more than once. I’m not going to go too much in to detail about what I personally deciphered (could be a great round table post!) from the film. If you want that, just Google it because there are many plausible theories out there.
I personally enjoyed the film. Aesthetically, this film tickled me in many places. We have gorgeous cinematography, a wonderfully bleak colour palette and one of the best scores I have heard in recent months (reminded me a little of Under the Skin). Danny Bensy and Saunder Jurriaans did a tremendous job adding a level of terror and tension with their score. I can’t lie, some aspects of the film dragged. I feel 20 minutes or so could have been trimmed from the film to help that. Now, it’s no surprise that spiders play a part in the film (it’s used in promotional materials so I’m not spoiling here). From some subtle touches to more obvious imagery. I will admit, it took a while for the film to sink in post viewing. Do I think the film is effective? Yes and no. After making up my own mind about what it all menat and reading some of the theories out there on the internet, I can definitely appreciate the film in that regard. Yeah, it was kinda convoluted in places, but it stayed with me and for that aspect, I would have to say it worked. If you say you get this film straight away, I call bullshit. Either that or you’re a genius! For people looking for a straightforward erotic thriller, there’s enough there to appease you to soe extent. Just be aware when going in to this film. Overall, as I’m writing this review, my opinions are constantly changing. Parts wiork and parts don’t. If you want something different, give this one a try. If you want something to sink your teeth in to and dissect, definitely give this a go. It’s not for everyone!
In terms of the release itself. You get a making of documentary and a selection of cast and crew interviews. Yeah, it’s a little light on features, but you can find it for a good price both on DVD and Blu-ray. I only watched the DVD version and it looked amazing, so blu-ray fans are in for a visual treat. I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen. The film would also be great as a double feature with Under the Skin. Both Jake Gyllanhaal and Scarlett Johansson are starring in some genuinely interesting films. It’s great to see sci-fi is coming back with a vengeance.
Enemy is available on DVD, Blu-ray and On Demand from Curzon Film World.