Canadian director Denis Villenueve (Prisoners) brings to us a dream-like sequence concerning body doubles, in the Hitchcockian flavored “Enemy.”
Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a listless, disheveled history teacher at a university in Toronto who sleep walks his way through lectures: a man who seriously needs a jolt in his life. During a lunch break at the cafeteria, a colleague begins making small talk about movies and casually suggests a title which may help lighten Adam’s mood. Adam rents the DVD and while viewing it he discovers an actor in the background who is a dead ringer for himself. Adam becomes obsessed with the actor, and after doing some research, he discovers that Anthony Claire (Gyllenhaal again) only has three movies to his credit in bit parts. The obsession becomes overwhelming and Adam calls the Claire residence where Anthony’s pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon) answers the phone only to think it is her husband playing a joke (their voices are apparently the same).
The obsession now reaches a different plateau when Adam convinces Anthony that they must meet, and when they do, the shocking resemblance sets both men aback. Unfortunately for Adam, Anthony is somewhat of a sexual cretin who has other ideas on his mind: Blackmail seems to be looming in the background.
If you are going to dissect the movie, you are going to find plenty of holes in it; but the sepia stained, foggy city of Toronto, along with the ominous soundtrack, is somewhat mesmerizing. Gyllenhaal is terrific in the two roles playing the lethargic Adam against the creepy Anthony. The film also has existential overtones to it: Are Adam and Anthony the same person? Who knows, but don’t think too hard ─ it will fry your brain . I give it a thumbs up. (Rated R; 90 min.)
My Rating: 3 of 5 Body Doubles.