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Genre Mystery

"You are your own worst enemy." While we sometimes hurt ourselves or behave unlike ourselves, it's quite a feat for anyone to believe it was our "evil twin". Greek mythology suggests we were all originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing our power, Zeus separated the beings to be in search of their other halves. While twins seem to have an uncanny synergy, the concept of duality continues to fascinate our increasingly narcissistic society and is the driving force behind Enemy.

Loosely bound, the adaptation of José Saramago's novel, follows a history teacher, who seeks out an exact look-a-like after discovering the actor by chance in a film. Enemy's surreal and taut atmosphere is fueled by cloudy ambivalence, where it feels like all paradigms co-exist concurrently. We're busy formulating an answer to help clear the muck of uncertainty only to find that our answer is unimportant and that all possibilities are welcome.

Jake Gyllenhaal continues to impress, burning a fuse of excellent performances, essentially becoming the poster boy for dark, somewhat deviant mystery drama thrillers. He worked with Canadian director, Denis Villeneuve, on Prisoners and has delivered yet another noteworthy performance after equally rich accomplishments in Source Code, End of Watch and Nightcrawler. The actor-director pairing obviously have a good understanding and demonstrate this once again with Gyllenhaal delivering a doppelganger movie with remarkable control and consistency.

Villeneuve sets his colourful characters against a totalitarian dreamscape of grey buildings and we're persuaded to step into the mirror as Adam stalks Anthony. Gyllenhaal is supported by exquisite French actress, Mélanie Laurent, whose character is overshadowed by the greater mystery at play. Instead, it's Sarah Gadon whose mesmerising visage becomes the new equilibrium as two lives mesh and re-crystalise. Gadon's grace and knowing presence add to the spooky and rather sparse world we find outselves in.

The mystery playground employs symbolism, some creepy moments and sensuality drawing comparisons with David Lynch, except there's more emphasis on story and less on mood. This Canadian-Spanish co-production isn't flashy and plays to its strengths with a strong lead actor in Jake Gyllenhaal, a provocative yet steady-handed director in Denis Villenueve and a similar economy of quality and scale to Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin.

Enemy is an artful, thought-provoking, immersive and beautifully bewildering journey. Its dark, surreal and unpredictable nature will not appeal to those looking for a clearly defined narrative. Those who appreciate Jake Gyllenhaal will find themselves delighted and even disturbed by the mind games and sinister duality at play in this experimental mystery drama.

The bottom line: Eerie

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