Enemy – Movie Review

Enemy Movie

Enemy– Movie Review by Frank L.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Writers: José Saramago (novel), Javier Gullón
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of Adam, a university lecturer, who looks suitably donnish in his well lived-in beige lightly checkered jacket. He is not a snappy dresser. He appears to be a somewhat distant figure even though he has a regular girlfriend. In a snippet of conversation with a colleague he reveals he does not often watch movies and seeks a recommendation. He finds the movie and watches it and spots a small-part actor who is his split image. He is fascinated. He discovers who the actor is and seeks to make contact with him. His name is Arthur and he wears a black leather jacket. He is a snappy dresser. The lives of Adam and Arthur begin to become intertwined and Gyllenhaal manages to create the distinct identities of Adam and Arthur which enables them to meet and confront each other. Confrontations become the essence of the piece as Adam’s girlfriend and Arthur’s wife become enmeshed in the identity crisis that is enveloping Adam and Arthur.


As can be seen from the film’s advertising poster there is a spider out of all proportion to reality which towers over the city which Adam and Arthur inhabit, similar to the one that Louise Bourgeois created for the Tate Modern Gallery in London, but far larger than that in in its enormity which appears from time to time. In fact an early shot is of a tarantula like creature being about to be crushed by a stiletto shoe. The spider must have a significance but on a single viewing it is not necessarily all that apparent what the significance is. It is a puzzle with which the viewer must grapple and discover a suitable solution as to its significance. Throughout Villeneuve creates various moments of intense suspense as he directs Gyllenhaal around his two distinct characters not least in the eerie shots immediately prior to the two men meeting initially. Yet notwithstanding the moments of suspense, Villeneuve retains throughout a calm, steady low key rhythm so when the out of the ordinary happens it does indeed seem to be extraordinary and therefore creates its own frisson.

There is a puzzle underlying what Villeneuve has created and whether you solve the puzzle or even discover a possible solution the fact remains Gyllenhaal himself makes for compelling viewing. Go and enjoy Gyllenhaal’s performance and finding your solution to the puzzle.

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