BY ISA MONTAGNESE
Based on the novel The Double, Enemy stars a promising cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Isabella Rossellini, Melanie Laurent, Canada’s Sarah Gadon and directed by Quebec’s superstar Denis Villeneuve. Also, it was filmed AND set in Toronto! Sounds good so far right? Yah, I thought so too.
Jake is our stuck-in-a-rut university professor who seems unimpressed by everything including his gal pal played by Melanie Laurent (what’s wrong with this picture). One day, while watching a movie, Jakey spots a dude who looks identical to him in the background. He becomes obsessed with finding this guy and solving the mystery. In the process, the two dudes lives seem to start to melt together.
It seems people are really split on this movie (from what I’ve read), people either think its Lynchian and complex, or they think its super dull. I would fall somewhere in the middle. I can see the attempt at Lynch, I can see the Canadian thriller side of it, I can see the great cast and the attempt at “what is life???” but I can also see the pointless sex club scenes and the underuse of Melanie Laurent and the failed jokes and the failed attempts at depth/introspection. I love a thriller, and I love a slow paced, creep-into-your-brain story but this movie just couldn’t get there. However, when I started thinking of this movie as a sci-fi instead of just a thriller, I didn’t hate it as much. Sci-fi forgives laziness, if something doesn’t fit, it’s cool, its artistic license! This still doesn’t excuse how blah this movie is.
I saw this movie at TIFF and got to listen to Villeneuve, Jakey and (living angel) Isabella Rossellini talk about the film. Honestly, the talk didn’t help. I still thought this movie was lacklustre, missing some crucial details, empty and a bit slow. A+ for Sarah Gadon though!