Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy might have the scariest ending of any film ever made.
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More than a thriller, this adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel The Double is an absurdist-existential mood piece – and a very dark mood it is.
Jake Gyllenhaal embodies the two roles with real presence, establishing Adam's sniveling wimp and Anthony's striding jerk as two believably discrete sides of the same coin.
It never comes to much more than an atmospheric head-scratcher.
For a tone poem on loneliness, fluid identity, and photogenic apartments, Enemy is the best entry in the genre since Roman Polanski’s The Tenant. And the last five minutes are just as unpredictable.
All the way back to "Donnie Darko," Jake Gyllenhaal has had an inchoate sense of evolution about him, a tricky quality that better actors can’t pull off half as well. So it’s hard to say if splitting the star into two doppelgängers — Adam, a mousy college professor, and Anthony, a rising actor with a healthy ego — is the best dramatic plan.
It doesn’t add up to much of anything exciting, even with an appearance by Isabella Rossellini (of Lynch’s “Blue Velvet’’) as the mother of one of the doubles.
Denis Villeneuve's shared dream of a film takes the simple premise of a man glimpsing his doppelganger while watching a movie and mines every bit of tension and oddity from it — there's hardly a scene that doesn't exude menace.
Ultimately, the enigmatic surface conflict — in which a man must contend with his own carbon copy as rival — proves to be the film’s own worst enemy, for its dark, David Lynchian allure proves almost too compelling, obscuring the material’s deeper themes.
Enemy is a transfixing grand slam that certifies Villeneuve as the real deal and one of the most exciting new voices in cinema today.