Trent Film Society Presents: Enemy


What’s better than a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal?

A film starring Jake Gyllenhaal… twice!

And what better place to screen the film than at Market Hall (140 Charlotte Street), on a big screen!

Corny opening aside, in Denis Villeneuve’s art thriller Enemy, Gyllenhaal plays Adam Bell, a timid university professor who becomes entangled in a mystery surrounding a man that looks exactly like himself.

Adam is recommended a fictional film by a colleague, and while he watches it, he notices that an extra (Bellhop #3 to be exact) looks exactly like him.

Obsession quickly ensues for Adam, as he searches the Internet for any information he can find about this surreal occurrence. After extensive web searching, Adam comes across a man named Daniel St. Claire, the actor in the fictional film that looks identical to him, and seeks Daniel out.

Are they related? What’s their connection? Is there just one?

Enemy raises many questions about the nature of identity; who are we? What is it that makes us distinctly ourselves? Are we really ourselves?

(“How are we not ourselves?” [I <3 Huckabees reference]).

Things escalate quickly and strangeness ensues in the urban Torontonian landscape that the characters of Enemy inhabit.

Continuing with our doppelganger theme (from Richard Ayoade’s The Double last week), Enemy uses the double archetype in a way that is surprisingly original despite being an overused narrative device.

As in most doppelganger films, there is usually one of the two lookalikes that the audience can sympathize with. With Enemy, both Adam and Daniel behave questionably; our empathy lies mostly with Adam (the “protagonist” of the film), however he is rather passive in certain scenarios, allowing his frailty and cowardice to overcome himself when the audience thinks that his inaction is morally questionable.

Visually, Enemy is a grim picture. A tarnished yellow covers the landscapes of Toronto, almost as if there were a visible plague consuming the city and those within it.

The sickly palette doesn’t just stop with the exterior, as the confines of Adam’s apartment are filled with this ill colour scheme.

The colour becomes synonymous whenever Adam is on-screen, signaling that there may be something symbolic at work here.

Coming off the heels of the critically and commercially acclaimed Prisoners (2013), Enemy marks director Denis Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal’s second collaboration (technically their first, however Enemy was filmed first and released after Prisoners).

Film critic Rodrigo Perez (The Playlist) describes Enemy as “not only [is Enemy] first-rate filmmaking, it’s profoundly unnerving.

A challenging, sometimes abstract piece of work, Enemy doesn’t reveal itself easily, but its coiling ouroboros quality is fascinating and spellbindingly disturbing.”

Enemy is a rather appropriate segue into our horror month starting next week with our free screening of Kim Jee-Woon’s I Saw the Devil (2010).

Please join us for a free public screening of Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy (2013) on Wednesday, September 24 @ Market Hall (140 Charlotte Street). The show begins at 8pm.

Big screen, big sound.