Release Date: Friday March 21st, 2014 (Kansas City Market)
Runtime: 90 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Sometimes in life, there are films that are so unique, so intense, and so well done that they become timeless works of art. “Enemy”, which opened in the Kansas City market on Friday, is not one of those. Rather, it is a film with grand aspirations. Unfortunately, it is a film that just doesn’t quite deliver. Several weeks ago, when I was looking at upcoming films for review, I took a peek at the official movie trailer for “Enemy” and had chills. In looking back, the film’s trailer was its best attribute. It had suspense and a build up that left me nervous and wanting more. The film itself, however, could not maintain that same momentum throughout its entirety despite its relatively short runtime of only 90 minutes.
Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a professor at a local university who lives a relatively mundane and simple life. Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Anthony, a local movie star who lives a seemingly happy existence with his pregnant wife. After spotting his exact double in several small local films, Adam becomes weirdly obsessed with uncovering the mystery behind his doppelganger. Once Anthony discovers Adam’s existence, he, too, becomes awkwardly obsessed. The two meet up in a dark hotel room (honestly, who just meets a complete stranger an hour away from home in a remote hotel room?! WHO?!) for a confrontation that is supposed to be intense but just falls flat. Afterwards, the plot takes you through a series of twists and turns that seem a little forced and leave audience members more confused than interested before providing an ending that leaves you questioning whether or not the cashier at the concession stand put something in your drink.
“Enemy” has so many twists that it ties itself into a knot it cannot undo. It asks far more questions than it answers, and I left feeling confused and unsure as to what I had just seen. A good twist is one that you don’t see coming, but after it happens you feel like you should have. “Enemy” substitutes needlessly complicated for clever and throws enough at you in hopes that you don’t notice. Gylenhaal does a fine job in playing two distinct characters, but it is not enough to make up for the shortcomings of the screenplay.
On the It’s An Ordinary Blog scale from one to ten, where one is the worst, five is the best and ten is the worst again, I give “Enemy” a 1.23574 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: “Ummmmmm, whhhhaaaaat?!”