Enemy is an eerie and intriguing but underdeveloped film that turns its interesting premise into a dull story about the uncontrollable male libido.
University lecturer Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is nearing the end of a relationship with his girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent). One night, while watching a film, Adam spots a minor actor who looks just like him. Consumed by the desire to meet his double, Adam tracks down Anthony, an actor living with his pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon) and engages him in a complex and dangerous struggle.
Enemy has creepy visuals that sets-up an intriguing premise. The film slowly builds a world that would have existed in a Twilight Zone episode – sepia tones and desaturated colors, creepy string musical score, an empty metropolitan landscape, and a few nondescript people.
The cast delivers good performances with Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead, who has thankfully moved on to make better use of his talent after getting involved in the whitewashing summer flick that is Prince of Persia.
However, the film spends too much time on dressing up rather then fleshing out its own story.
The two opposing characters are one dimensional – wimpy mild-mannered Adam Bell and philandering jerk Anthony Saint Claire. Both are discontent with their own domestic situation, despite Adam being with a hot chick and Anthony with a dedicated wife who stays despite his two-timing shenanigans.
The film’s dreamlike sequences suggests that these two have something more in common than they think. But instead of developing its own ideas or spinning its premise into more a interesting story, the film continues on muddling up the plot and piling on the weird imagery involving a metaphoric spider.
The last scene is very scary but overall Enemy is pretty but empty. Just like the equally drawn out Stoker, it’s overshadowed by its own visuals. It could have been an off kilter commentary on sex and shame or gave an eccentric look to familiar stories – moody clone sci-fi flick or doppelganger suspense thriller.
Instead, its a protracted story of a philandering jerk who can’t change because of the so-called restless dick syndrome.
My Rating: 7/10