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Another day, another weird spider nightmare

‘Enemy’ is bizarre…and fascinating

March 18, 2014, 12:00 am

There are movies about doppelgangers, and there are movies in which doppelgangers appear. And then there is Enemy, which is unlike any other doppelganger movie before. It doesn’t really operate under any discernible set of rules, and it doesn’t seem to care. What it does is provide a consistent sense of dread that is ratcheted up slowly and surely until the movie’s final scene, which is shocking.

Jake Gyllenhaal (reteaming with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve) is a mild-mannered and mildly depressed history professor at a Toronto university. One night, on the possibly malicious recommendation of a colleague, he rents and watches a movie. At one point he thinks he sees himself in the movie, and then he’s watching the actor’s other flicks and tracking him down.

Gyllenhaal plays two different characters with two different sets of mannerisms, and the performance is subtle enough to draw comparisons to Jeremy Irons’ masterful turns in Dead Ringers. It’s also creepy as hell.

Enemy is dark, in tone and in lighting, and eerily funny, with palpable tension. If it made any sense, that would be great. But you can’t have everything. Except spiders. And unease. And Gyllenhaal with a nifty beard. Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon are excellent in small supporting roles.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
With Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon
CCA Cinematheque
91 min.


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