Saturday, November 22, 2014

Enemy (Canada, Spain, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Enemy

1. This is one of the only films in my life that actually gave me nightmares. And it's technically not even a horror movie.

2. It's about a neurotic, semi-depressed college professor, stuck in a routine life. When he sees a movie with an actor that looks just like him, he becomes obsessed with meeting his double.

3. From there the movie veers off into very surreal territory, and begins to fold over itself in unexpected and confusing ways.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal plays both the teacher and the actor. While they look identical, you can technically tell them apart because one of them wears a wedding ring. However, Gyllenhaal's two performances are so strong that he actually seems to be two actors. The two characters are so well delineated that you can tell just from Gyllenhall's body language and speech patterns which person he is.

5. There is a real, masterful sense of creeping dread and menace that builds relentlessly to the final scene.

6. Oh, and about that final scene. I don't care how good you are at predicting movies - you will not see this ending coming. And then either your soul will jump in frustrated horror, or you will start the movie over again. Or both.

7. There are a lot of really short scenes that last only a few seconds - or short segments of longer scenes - that provide some clues as to what's really going on. You won't realize their significance the first time you watch the movie.

8. The opening epigraph of the film is a quote from the novel on which the movie is based: "Chaos is order yet undefined". It not only sets the tone for the film, but provides the key for at least one of the film's possible meanings.

9. Part thriller, part allegory, part existential nightmare, this is perhaps the most brilliant and inscrutable movie of 2014.