HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:80
Oh my. That’s all I can say after watching “Enemy”. I’m a fan of the bizarre and the tense, but this takes it to a whole other level. The film is a bit slower paced than your standard thriller, but it’s a movie that requires you to see it at least twice MINIMUM to catch most of the clues that litter the movie. It seems to be one thing at first, then it takes a drastic 180 and then continues to ask you questions until the very last few seconds of the movie. I had no idea what the movie was about besides that it got an incredible amount of user acclaim over the last few months. I decided to go in blind and not research the film a whole lot, so I could experience it as raw and fresh as possible. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came into the viewing and I almost am not sure when I came out as well. Director Jose Villeneuve does a fantastic job of keeping the viewer constantly looking, combing the film for clues on just what exactly is reality in this story about a LACK of reality.
Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a mild mannered history professor. He has a girlfriend, and a simple apartment. The only problem is that he is a man that seems to be suffering from dissatisfaction in life, as it’s written all over his actions and his face. He’s not much of a movie guy, but on the recommendation by a colleague he ends up watching a local film and sees something shocking. One of the bellboys in the picture looks EXACTLY like himself! Tracking down this bit part actor, he finds out that his name is Anthony Claire, has a wife and is a struggling third rate actor. When the two meet it’s a bit of a shock, as neither of them are prepared for the similarities physically, but also the dissimilarities in terms of personality. The two of them are about as polar opposite as they can be with Adam the mousy shy man and Anthony the aggressive and assertive actor.
As the two intertwine their lives they begin to discover things about each other, things that normally would be reserved only for their minds alone. Spying on each other’s significant other they watch and analyze the other until something must come to a head and Anthony forces a “change of identity” as a sort of revenge. Here’s where the story decides to flip us on our ears and many of the questions that I had been asking myself the whole movie started to coalesce. As the two men and the two realities start to overlap it becomes clear that only one of them can survive, and the title of the movie takes precedence.
I’m honestly not sure how to even go about describing this film. I’m going to say that this is a film that requires a great deal of interpretation, and as such this next section of the review will contain spoilers as I lay out my interpretation. So be warned going farther. At first we’re not sure if the two men are just doppelgangers, or what, as they seem to be similar yet different in many ways. As the film goes on you start to pick up on the clues. No one ever sees the two of them together. When Anthony’s wife is investigating Adam he vanishes around a corner before she’s able to have Anthony pick up his cell phone and talk to her, pictures that appear in Adam’s apartment appear later in Anthony’s house, the list goes on. I can list some of these clues, but the film is literally LITTERED with them as Jose leads you down one path, all the while asking you to question that path. Are Adam and Anthony the same man? Are they just split personalities, or is it an elaborate game? Is Adam/Anthony a mentally ill person? The film asks many questions, and doesn’t give ALL the answers, but rather clues you in to certain directional queues that I believe answer the majority of them.
The thing is, Anthony/Adam are most likely the same person. The clues all point to it, but you have to look for them. The first act is their separate lives and the relationships they have with their lovers. The second act is where you start to question the characters motives, sanity and even your own sanity as Adam and Anthony become more intertwined. The final act with the “identity switch” is really where you start to see the lines become so blurred that you can’t tell where a line is anymore. Anthony and Adam are mentally at war with each other, trying to find out who will become the dominant personality as only one can survive and thrive. The game can only last so far. The spiders that caused so much confusion amount people all symbolize the growing instability of the character and his tenuous hold on reality. So much so that by the end of the third act you believe that one personality has become dominant and put the other to rest, only to have the rug swept out from underneath you.
Rated R for some sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=21586[/img]As unique as the thriller is, the 2.35:1 encode is just as unique. Bathed in a dreamy slightly hazy picture, the colors are given a wild yellow/green color grading that gives the entire film a very sallow look. While the colors are desaturated and almost pastel in nature, the detail is still quite stunning. The individual hairs and textures on Jake Gyllenhaal’s clothing is remarkable in most scenes, albeit the hazy look to the film does create some softness during other scenes, so it’s kind of a tradeoff. Some scenes looking incredible while others are stylistically soft and dreamy. Black levels are quite good for the most part, but the scenes in the seedy night club and the greenish/yellow color grading create some washed out blacks in the apartment and house of the two “men”. The flesh tones are pasty and greenish ,as you could guess a side effect of the color grading, but that’s mainly stylistic rather than a knock against the encode. A very good encode that has some limitations due to the style of the filming.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=21594[/img]The Audio is a real knockout though. For a dialogue driven movie it has a surprising amount of vibrancy and directionality to it. The dialogue is as clean and clear as one could hope for, with the vocals locked in the center with some very nice panning in the front sound stage. The surrounds are surprisingly active as you hear the bustling of the city soundscape and the roaring of the bus and cars flowing around Adam/Anthony. Even the quiet scenes have some incredibly detailed sounds as a footstep echoes hollowly on wooden floors or the nervous jingling of keys in Adam’s suit pocket. LFE is really nice and a pleasant surprise. Full of life that low end channel throbs with activity intertwining itself with the rest of the track and really driving it forward with powerful waves of bass. The car crash at the very end will cause your pants legs to vibrate with the power alone and the score is just saturated with heavy mid bass. Really well done and an excellent encode by Lionsgate.
• Lucid Dreams: The making of Enemy
“Enemy” is a bizarre and multi layered film that delves into the fabric of reality for one/two men and their significant others. It tears at your beliefs and just nudges you along, making you think you have the answer only to change the question a few moments later and back again in the blink of an eye. It’s fantastic, but mind bending, intense, yet slow moving at the same time. It’s definitely a film that I recommend watching, but also one I recommend watching more than once to pick up on the nuances. I thought I had it perfectly figured out the first time only to pick up more clues for BOTH theories the second time and even more the third. The audio and video are excellent, with the only real downside to the release being the anemic extras. I was INCREDIBLY entertained by the film and am in love with it, but the strange nature of the thriller makes me list it as a must watch instead of must buy due to that same strange and bizarre nature that I really love.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Directed by: Denis Villenueve
Written by: José Saramago
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Buy Enemy Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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