Enemy Review
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Last fall, Jake Gyllenhaal teamed up with director Denis Villeneuve for Prisoners, a dark and suspenseful drama that fell short of satisfying. Now the duo is back together for Enemy, a haunting thriller thatís even more obscureóand even less satisfying.

Enemy stars Jake Gyllenhaal in dual rolesóas both scruffy college history professor Adam and smooth small-time actor Anthony.

In an attempt to escape the tedium of his monotonous life, Adam decides to watch a movie that a colleague recommended. While watching the movie, however, he catches a glimpse of Anthony, an actor who could be his twin. Troubled by their striking resemblance, Adam sets out to find his doppelgangeróbut their eventual meeting poses more dark and disturbing questions than answers.

  
 
With a big-name actor like Jake Gyllenhaal in the starring role(s), Enemy may look like a tense mainstream thriller, but thatís certainly not the case. From its edgy and disorienting opening scene to its slow-burning suspense, this arty head-scratcher is more about imagery and atmosphere than story. Itís dark and tense, with a haunting score to set the tone, yet itís hard to say what, exactly, is going on here.

From Adamís first introduction to his doppelganger, the charactersí emotional responses often seem perplexing. While most people would simply be amused by the discovery of an on-screen lookalike, Adam is completely distressedóto the point that he stalks the actor, visiting his agency, driving by his apartment, and finally calling his home to insist that they meet. Anthony, meanwhile, has a more natural initial responseófirst disbelieving, then curiousóbut his actions quickly become strangely darker and more disconcerting.

Through it all, though, Gyllenhaal manages to make it work, carrying both roles with relative ease. Though the character confusion seems to be part of the filmís mystery, he manages to make it fairly easy to tell the two apart.

As the doppelganger drama plays out, though, itís clear that thereís more to the story than whatís playing out on the screen. Thereís something stranger, more troubling, going on in the background, but itís never really clear what that is. The hint of something moreósomething eerie and mysteriousómakes the simple story and its deliberate pace feel more gripping than you might expect, but the payoff simply isnít there. In fact, just when you think that Villeneuve could be about to put the pieces together and make some sense of it all, he instead ends the film with a final shot thatís absolutely maddening.

Enemy certainly has an intriguing storyóand an eerie atmosphere to match. But it seems more focused on impressing audiences with its artistic obscurity than on telling a solid, satisfying story, making it strictly an art-house pick.

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