By Darin Skaggs
Film can be used to show many emotions. It can bring so many metaphors, visually and verbally. It could be viewed as pretentious to make a film that is full of these metaphors. Every once in a while they could also work as brilliant works of art. Sadly in Denis Villeneuve’s new film Enemy these attempts at visual and vocal metaphors fail and become an unnecessarily confusing mess.
The film is about Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a bored professor who doesn’t have much of a life and normal routine that he seems not to care about or care to change. One day he finds out that there is a lowbrow actor that looks just like him named Anthony (also Gyllenhaal). Adam searches out to meet Anthony which takes a crazy turn that turns into the film just trying to be many metaphors.
The film does obsess with making us wonder what is up with these two men. Could they be twins? Or could they be clones? Does it matter? In the long run, it doesn’t. The film spends so much on the mystery of the identical look of these men and spends so little time to solve it. It is clear after leaving the film that there is some deep meaning to these look a likes. Instead the whole film is a mess of secret meanings. It does not flow to well together, while other movies work well as a confusing mess that when you put your mind to it, the meanings will all come together. This one is too confusing and messy to mean much to someone. There are doppelgangers that never figure out anything and a weird load of spiders that could be anything and most likely nothing.
The film is not a total failure. It looks incredible and the score is fairly effective. They are so good it could make you believe the story being told is worthwhile. Gyllenhaal is spectacular in both roles playing a boring teacher and also an active out of work actor. Every technical aspect of the film is astounding. The film is a honorable failure and with last year’s Prisoners also directed by Villeneuve and a solid thriller, this really shows promise for the director. Sadly this part of his filmography will most likely just have to be near the bottom of his hopeful career.