I always devoted an endless admiration for Jake Gyllenhaal, not only because he is handsome, but especially because of his choices when it comes to pick up a character to play. Donnie Darko, Jarhead, The Good Girl and even Bubble Boy, always complex, marginal characters. He posses a kind of natural weirdness that is shapeable, even plastic.
For his second collaboration with Denis Villeneuve after Prisoners, Gyllenhaal got involved in Enemy in which he plays two of them.
The movie opens in a quote “chaos is order yet undeciphered” which I believe allows every spectator to think of an explanation to the movie after watching it. Therefore I will write something based on what I understood behind all the symbolism Villeneuve decided to film.
He started by introducing a sex club, presented as if he was filming the inside of a confessional with yellow light centered in small and specific items such as hands or half a face. But then, you understand that, “nope not a church” indeed a group of men are watching and being served by naked women in a sort of orchestrated play.
Soon enough, Villeneuve brings up his principal symbol; the spider. In this context, the spider represents mystery, feminine energy and conflict of life. Hence, woman and spider are almost an entity building up its weave in Adam/Anthony (Jake Gyllenhaal) live(s).
However this is not a story about an evil twin or schizophrenia, it is a story about adultery and inner conflict.
Indeed, the director divided the movie as if it has two parallel worlds in which Adam and Anthony are two personalities are going to meet and destroy this barrier separating them and affecting their life. The director created two dimensions based on a second life we might have if we commit adultery.
If Anthony is a self confident/cheater actor, Adam is the nice/confused professor. Both have a woman in their lives, Anthony has a pregnant wife, Helen (Sarah Gadon) and Adam has a girlfriend, Mary (Mélanie Laurent), both are blond, white and skinny.
Helen implied that Anthony had a relationship with another woman, and we might conclude that this other woman is Mary. But the professor and him looks exactly the same, only they behavior changes according to what they have in mind; sex or love. And Adam is going to look into himself and find his inner actor.
What I liked in Villeneuve construction, based on José Saramago‘s novel, is that he put in the dialogue the minimum needed to build strong hypothesis and shot some scenes in a particular way, added interesting actors’ play so that you might be able to pick up the pieces of the puzzle and have something coherent at the end of the movie.
My head was diving forward because of intense concentration. And even though it isn’t a straight A, it is just like every Villeneuve movies, interesting and is definitely not a loss of time.