Wednesday, March 26
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
2014 Mystery Drama
1 hour 30 minutes
From Pathé and A24
I know what my attraction to the film was. Jake Gyllenhaal. Let it be known I am a JG fan. Bigtime. I have seen everything he has ever done starting with playing Billy Crystal's son in 1991's City Slickers. We'll be hearing a whole lot more about him in an upcoming posting. But the question really is... what attracted him to this movie? Somebody tell me he signed on to an incomplete script and once it was fully written and bordering on atrocious, hard as he may have tried, he couldn't get out of it. Oh, somebody tell me.
Well, the truth probably is that the actor wanted to work for the director a second time, having just had a rather successful pairing in Prisoners. No one can blame one from wanting to work with another again and the hope is the next project will turn out as well or better than the first. Sorry. It didn't work.
Let's get to the basic premise... the one all reviews will allude to... and that is a history teacher sees his exact lookalike in a movie on television and becomes obsessed with finding him. Fine, I can handle it so far. When it becomes obvious that they also have the same voice, that gave me some pause and I wondered if they were twins that were separated early on. The fact that when they meet neither man considers that seems curious. Later still when they discover they have the same scar in the same location, I guessed there was more to this than I had considered. But the problem was that I didn't much care at this point.
Scene by scene my mind was racing to figure out what in the hell was going on. I came to the conclusion it is either some sci-fi hokum or it's all or mainly a dream (dreams do figure here) or it's in the character's imagination. I have concluded one of those is indeed the case, but by this point I was ready to leave. And then comes the final scene which made me want to run out of the theater.
Mark my words... this film is not going to be a success. Sorry Jake. Sorry Denis. You left too much to the audience's imagination and when you allow confusion to be the mainstay of your writing, most folks are going to be turned off. It reminded me in this vein of Memento, a film I loathed for its mumbo-jumbo, mishmash of a story. Once every 15 minutes or so, audiences need to be thrown a little something to allow them to know they're part of the process.
Whereas Memento had some sort of loyal following, this one probably will, too. Soon I'll be hearing it's the best thing Gyllenhaal has ever done. Dream on you ten or twelve people who like it, understand it and want to trumpet its meaning.
To be totally objective, it's probably one of those films (again like Memento) that one needs to see a second time to understand better. Ain't gonna happen here. And the truth is that even though I think I finally wrapped my brain around the point, I simply didn't care. Too esoteric, too convoluted and just plain silly.
The title is more silliness, misleading to be sure. It was apparently based on a work called The Double. That I understand. But Enemy is going to cause folks to think something far different from what is the case.
Despite my daily regimen of checking several movie sites, I had never heard of Enemy, which seemed mighty odd. And then, of course, it's dumped into March releases which rarely bodes well for any film.
As I slip on my trail of tears, I remind myself that I have just seen another Jake Gyllenhaal movie and for that I am always pretty perky. He was the best thing about it. Close behind was Sarah Gadon in an effective role as the curious wife of one of the two men.
Maybe I need to learn to just jump in there and say how I feel.
MGMs Latin Lovers