Dou­ble Dutch?

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: 9 Fe­bru­ary

2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: De­nis Vil­leneuve Cast: Jake Gyl­len­haal, Mélanie Lau­rent, Sarah Gadon

Some­times you

wish you could award ques­tion marks in­stead of stars.

Like Roger Moore in 1970’ s The Man Who Haunted Him­self and Jesse Eisen­berg in The Dou­ble, En­emy’s Jake Gyl­len­haal must con­front his dop­pel­ganger. He plays his­tory pro­fes­sor Adam who, while watch­ing a DVD, spots an ac­tor who looks and sounds ex­actly like him. De­vel­op­ing an ob­ses­sion with the man, he tracks him down to ar­range a meet, and their lives begin to in­ter­twine…

“Chaos is or­der yet un­de­ci­phered” reads the open­ing epi­gram – a line from Por­tuguese au­thor José Sara­m­ago’s orig­i­nal 2002 novel. When the cred­its roll on En­emy, it re­mains stub­bornly un­en­crypted. Is it sig­nif­i­cant that Adam lec­tures on how dic­ta­tor­ships con­trol their cit­i­zens, and “pat­terns that re­peat through his­tory”? What’s the sig­nif­i­cance of the dark­ened room where stat­uesque women per­form for an au­di­ence of mid­dle- aged men? And what the hell is it with the spi­ders? You may posit some the­o­ries, but En­emy re­sists any sim­ple def­i­ni­tion.

It’s an un­nerv­ing film – un­der­stated and de­tached, painted in sickly sepia tones, fea­tur­ing faintly sin­is­ter shots of omi­nously loom­ing ar­chi­tec­ture. Gyl­len­haal im­presses in his dual role, flu­ently speak­ing a dif­fer­ent body lan­guage depend­ing on whether he’s in­hab­it­ing the cowed, nervy Adam or his more self- pos­sessed dou­ble. Re­peat view­ings are called for, and En­emy has qual­i­ties that make it a plea­sure to en­ter the labyrinth again in search of an­swers.

Cast and crew talk about what they think it all means in a 17- minute Mak­ing Of. Ian Ber­ri­man Vil­leneuve boiled it down for Gyl­len­haal: “a movie about be­ing a man in a re­la­tion­ship, and the fear and the re­lief in com­mit­ment.”

The Open Uni­ver­sity would al­ways have a place in Daryl’s heart.

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