Adam Bell is a boring History Professor at a university absorbed in his quiet life, doing his daily routine over and over without fail. One day, a co-worker recommends that he watch the film When There’s a Will, There’s a Way, in which he sees an actor who looks exactly like him. Intrigued, he researches the background of his supposed doppleganger, and contacts him to meet. But he gets more than what he bargained for when Anthony, the person who looked exactly like him, bullies him into doing something unspeakable, a thing that pushes Adam to the wall.
I must say that the motto for this movie is really Patience is a virtue. Everything progresses very slowly, as if director Denis Villanueve was ensuring that everybody was following the story, and getting into it as much as he was. The artistry in this movie is top notch, and each frame, each transition seemed to be regarded as vital to the movie. And the accompanying music by Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans just pushed the scenes over the edge. Sure, it takes a while for the story to move along but there was a general sense of foreboding throughout the movie that seemed to be cluing in the audience to be extra observant about the setting and the dialogue lest they miss anything.
In truth, the plot in itself was fairly complicated, and the mystery was made even more intriguing by Villanueve’s presentation. It seemed like he wanted to keep as much to his chest as possible for the longest time so that the great reveal will be worth it, while at the same time dropping hints and clues through the dialogues. Jake Gyllenhaal did a great job playing his two characters because while they looked exactly alike with very very subtle difference in the hairstyle in terms of appearance, there was a marked disparity in the portrayal of Adam and Anthony that seemed equally enigmatic and dangerous.
What’s great about this film is actually the sense of imbalance that audiences will feel throughout, as if the movie was one big puzzle that they had to solve. And while they think they’re making headway, another scene unravels making them doubt earlier conclusions formed about the characters. I don’t know, but there was something very Hitchcock about this movie, making it a cut above the rest of the regular psychological thriller.
All in all, the film was a very interesting watch despite its snail-paced progress. It was mentally stimulating but exhausting to follow but it was just the type of movie that’s even better after audiences see it because there are a lot of nagging questions following the ambiguous ending. Its the type of film that keeps audiences on their toes and at the edge of their seats, either biting on their fingernail of tearing their hair off in frustration, leaving them either overly exhilarated or shocked by the conclusion. It makes audiences ask who was actually the real Enemy? I would not reveal more on this post for fear of spoiling potential viewers but feel free to sound off on the comments section below to see if we interpreted the ending the same way. One thing’s for sure. I am going to read The Double by Jose Saramago, the book in which the film was based just to see if I was on the right track.
Enemy is still showing in cinemas, and brought to the Philippines by Solar Entertainment.