Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Aaron's Late To The Party (But Still Spoiler-Free) Review of Enemy

There are very few movies out there that have made me want to watch the film again straight after my first viewing. Some examples of this are films like Fight Club, The Book of Eli, The Fountain, The Kill List and more recently Alien Covenant (Ha! Yeah, right!). But none have given me this feeling so much as Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.

Holy fucking shitballs, did I love this film! Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m all for brain-dead films that harbour zero imagination and pay no quarter to original thinking or concepts (weird, I’m suddenly reminded of Alien Covenant again), but sometimes I think it’s necessary, nay, essential to challenge the viewer and really get them thinking.

After all, a great man (me) once said “Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed”, and I’ll bloody well defend that to the grave with this movie which, quite frankly in my opinion (which is therefore fucking fact) is a criminally underrated cinematic masterpiece.

Basically, if movies were onions, this cunt would make a fine chutney that’d be sweeter than your mum’s and sister’s cootchies combined (trust me, I’d know).

Very loosely based on José Saramago’s novel The Double (it’s literally just the premise that inspired the film, I believe), Enemy is that breath of fresh air that everyone craves after having sifted through shit for the best part of (what feels like) a decade, and is more welcome than that cuddly critter E.T.

The general premise of the film is that our hero, Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal), is your run-of-the-mill university lecturer who lives alone, has no friends and no real foreseeable future. Suddenly, on the off-chance and rare occasion that he watches a film that’s recommended to him by a nosy colleague whilst trying to eat lunch, Adam suddenly realises that one of the extras is his exact double, which leads him down a path of obsession and paranoia as he goes in search of his doppelganger.

The film then bombards you with symbolism, time jumps, more symbolism, metaphors, interpretations, fucking symbolism, twists, turns, shocks, brain training exercises, is there seriously no end to this symbolism? That's not to mention a fucking spider that has another spider, which symbolises spiders having spiders but it’s all just one great spider metaphor that spells s-y- m-b- o-l- i-s- m!

Now, if I were to tell you that this was an easy-going film that the whole family could enjoy, then I’d be downright lying to you. This is a very heavy-going arthouse film and is probably enjoyed in the company of either A) yourself, or B) a small group of friends who are also film buffs (genuine ones, mind, not pretentious ones who think they are just because they read something somewhere and now they’re fucking experts yet don’t know what Dogme 95 is, but play along with the context at hand in the classic No Soap Radio fashion).

This film is definitely not going to be for everyone either, so expect a lot of “what does that mean?” or “Hang on a minute” or my personal favourite “I don’t get it”. This film requires imagination and a pretty creative mind it seems, as it reads very much like a book (again, it’s very loosely based on the novel so the creativity does mainly lie with the film maker on this one), and doesn’t need to rely on cheap gimmicks and shiny objects (yes, Ridley, I’m looking at you!).

So, to sum up, I absolutely loved this film. The characters are fantastic, the hidden clues are everywhere yet are hiding in plain sight, and the story itself is like a web of delightful complication that embarks down a dark, but beautiful, labyrinth of film artistry.

Aaron's Spoiler-Free Rating - 8.5/10


AJ Waters is a pulp fiction writer from Kent in England, who specialises in horror and flash fiction. With a novella in the works, AJ Waters is an up & comer in the British pulp scene.

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