“Every dictatorship has one obsession” and is there any reason that our times should be different.
This mystery masterpiece focuses on a seemingly depressed history professor Adam as he uncovers the shocking discovery that there is a doppelgänger of him out there. As he becomes frustrated and fixated he begins to attempt to make contact with his other self.
From the moment you begin watching the strangeness and twisted sense of normality that exists within this world is very apparent. Gradually, the feature lures you more into the notion that even in total Chaos is order. After you are nestled within this strange world, well things become unbelievably stranger.
While you won’t fully understand the opening and bending your mind around the complexity of the experience that this feature takes you through is daunting at least, you do begin afterwards slowly unravel the story from dialog scattered around the film. Its actually very refreshing watching a film from which you have no idea what exactly is happening for the entirety of it. While this is a technique usually reserved for television series, it is rarely seen in film for the its inability to create an intriguing story although Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve’s execution of it is masterful and something that you don’t often see in cinema.
Despite the perfected chaos that Villeneuve and Saramago have created bringing this to the screen, from Nobel Prize-winning author Javier Gullón’s 2002 novel ‘The Double’, its unlikely to be a major awards contender for one simple reason – the films structure. Unless you take an hour to look over what you have watched you can’t really see what has been created. Although, a lot of this years predicted awards contenders screening in Toronto are similarly complex the most similarly to Enemy is Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty.
While director Denis Villeneuve has recently debuted another festival film this winter at the recent Telluride Film Festival ‘Prisoners’ the two films couldn’t be more different. Despite them both both featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, a intense amount of fog and staring at this years Toronto Film Festival, Enemy and Prisoners both have a very unique and specific style of tension and drama which is not comparable to the other. Its a testament Villeneuve passion for both films to have almost started with a new slate for Prisoners after wrapping production on Enemy along with his use of the Toronto skyline to create tension.
Having been filmed in Toronto this is almost a perfect selection for this years Toronto Film Festival and with the response from audiences here its extremely likely that Enemy will continue onwards from Toronto to countless other festivals over the couple of months.
If you like being completely lost within a strange mind bending tale without the need to know what is actually happening the this is a brilliant choice to watch and if you like to find yourself terrified you should only watch this after dark.
About the Author
James Rush is the Founding, News & Chief Editor of TFM.