Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Mélanie Laurent
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This 2013 suspense and arthouse thriller was requested to me via IG, and I found myself intrigued for 2 reasons—seeing Jake Gyllenhaal, and the film’s synopsis. I figured this was going to be a very mentally enticing thriller, and I was ready for it (and super excited to be introduced to this film that I hadn’t heard of).
After watching, I didn’t find myself as satisfied as I thought I would have been. The film had potential to be something much more than it was, but there seemed to be a lack of clearer intentionality with some of the subtle choices in the film.
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Below are my grades for key components in #Enemy that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating in my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Character Arc/Development: C
Entertainment Factor: Interesting Enough (if free)
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1. I was impressed at Jake’s delivery of his characters, but his best work was showcased in his delivery of Adam for me. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
2. Just to get this first concern out the way, I was not a fan of the images of the tarantula. After viewing, I started researching tarantulas and spiders to get a sense of “why,” and NOTHING was utilized as well as it could have been utilized with thinking about the idea behind the spider…especially the female spider. 🤦🏾♂️🥴👎🏾
3. Speaking of women, there was a love/hate relationship I had with Sarah’s and Mélanie’s role/purpose with the film. For this particular point, I want to focus on the the love/appreciation I had for their roles—one as an object of desire, and the other as an object to use for false deception in order to move the plot for Anthony’s character. In this case, the roles were well utilized. 👍🏾
4. I also enjoyed the subtle delivery of Sarah Gadon’s character. Though sparse, she had a presence. 👍🏾
5. …And points #2 and #3 lead me to the hate/disappointed relationship I had with Sarah’s and Mélanie’s role/purpose with the film which has nothing to do with the actors, but more to do with the writing, and they just so happen to be for the very same reasons as mentioned earlier—one’s use as an object of desire, and the other as an object to use for false deception.
I couldn’t help but begin to think about the ways in which [white] men choose to use the presence of women in stories that center themselves. It would be one thing if the story was not only centered on [white] men, but also involved issues/conflicts that [white] men seem to only create for themselves in their patriarchal bubble; but instead, this film had a very obvious plot idea that focused on an external conflict—their relationship and internalized battle with women—which actually could have/should have elevated the role and active involvement of the 2 main women (and maybe women in general to be quite honest). ESPECIALLY when also adding in the use of the tarantula…EVERYTHING about that 1 vaguely used concept said, to me, “Why aren’t the women leading more of this story in a more blatant way?”🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
6. Also, to continue on my concern-rant tour, the opening scene… … … it would make more sense if the story allowed us to really tap into the life of the character in question, but it doesn’t. And the delivery of the character doesn’t give enough to really justify the opening scene for me. 🤦🏾♂️🤷🏾♂️
7. AAAAND… I’m not sure how much of a fan I am with the title based on how the story unfolds. 🥴
8. I found the “history lesson” to hold some subtle power to understanding Adam and some small concept of the plot and overall theme. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
9. I just want to re-emphasize point #1…I mean, just the scene with him on the phone with Anthony was really well done. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
10. The “show me your hands” and “scar” moment felt almost “gimmicky,” and the response didn’t make as much sense due to WHO the initiator of the overall setup. I needed something else to cause that reaction. 🥴
11. The mother’s “fruit” response… … oddly placed, and it felt forced in order to add more suspense and “mind fuckery” for viewers when there wasn’t any follow through via the plot. This was a moment where I started thinking how stronger this could’ve been as a Twilight Zone short… 🥴🤷🏾♂️
12. I enjoyed experiencing scenes where we were almost in this visual fun house switching between Adam and Anthony, which is why I say that Jake was definitely impressive because you had to really pay attention to his slight differences in order to know whose perspective you were watching from at times. 👍🏾
13. Now I do wonder what was to be relayed via what Mary was “able to notice” but not Helen… … was it due to the “conflict” Helen was dealing with as it pertained to Anthony that she just always assumed? 🤨🤔
14. Soooo… we just aren’t going to explain the picture? 🤨
15. I loved the cinematography with everything shot in this yellow/sepia-esque tint showcasing the mood and life of Adam vs Anthony. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
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Overall, #Enemy is a film that is interesting in it’s synopsis, but doesn’t quite do enough to naturally/effortlessly maintain the level of that interest through a visual medium. It feels somewhat safe and not completely flushed out—especially with the role of women. Additionally, there was a lacking in the character development department that I think could have definitely added more texture and nuance to the overall story.
It’s definitely not a bad movie, but it’s also not stand-out or artistically compelling. If you have Hulu premium or Firestick, and can check it out for free, I’d say that the entertainment factor is Interesting Enough. However, even for the low cost of 3.99 on Amazon Prime, I wouldn’t say it’s something you should rush to check out in place of other movies if ever given a list and asked “which do you want to see first?”