Enemy (Blu-ray Review)

enemy whysoblu thumbLast year, mainstream audiences were given the chance to check out Prisoners, a kidnapping drama from director Denis Villeneuve.  Many gave praise to Hugh Jackman taking his Wolverine rage and putting it into an average guy who just wanted to find his daughter.  I liked Jackman, but it was Jake Gyllenhaal’s turn as Det. Loki who really impressed me.  Before making Prisoners, Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal actually teamed up for a much smaller film, Enemy.  Seeing this psychological thriller has now led me to believe that this is an actor/director pairing I want to continue to see.  This is a bizarre film that may be one of my favorite films of this year that I would have the hardest time of recommending to others, as it basically has a simple idea and extrapolates from there, in an effort to make this haunting look at one’s own identity.


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Based on the novel, The Double, by Jose Saramago, Enemy features Jake Gyllenhaal. who plays two different personas.  We have Adam Bell, a college history teacher who seems fairly reclusive, despite the presence of a girlfriend played by Melanie Laurent.  Adam rents a movie and sees something odd in it – himself.  As it turns out, an actor named Anthony Claire exists and looks and sounds exactly like Adam.  Adam develops an obsession over his discovery of a doppelganger and decides to track him down.  The two being aware of each other’s existence leads to new develops, wrapping up the other people involved in the lives of these guys as well, including Anthony’s pregnant girlfriend, Helen (Sarah Gadon), and a mother (Isabella Rossellini).

While there are certainly ways to spoil how this film plays out, it is not a spoiler, in my eyes, to make mention of the various possibilities that could occur in this film, as many guesses can surely be taken just by reading about the film.  Are there actually two different characters?  Is Adam or Anthony actually delusional or a schizophrenic?  Is it a dream?  Is Anthony acting in another movie?  These are all crazy questions we may want to ask, but screenwriter Javier Gullon and director Villeneuve have no real desire of presenting things plainly.  Instead, they take what could be structured as an odd, dark comedy, and push things to haunting levels via the imagery (which involves lots of tarantula references for whatever reason, which is up to the viewer), the cadence of these performances, and the general sense of dread that implies more than it really delivers upon.

That’s the thing, Enemy is entrenched in atmosphere.  It is a very moody film, yes, but incredibly deep in the visual statement it is going for, while also allowing for this bizarre story to play out, yet it does not have some sort of epic or expected payoff.  It is different that way, but still very intriguing.


What helps is the quality of the performances, namely Gyllenhaal, who continues to prove to me that he can be a great actor, something I reaffirmed to myself, after looking at his recent filmography and seeing how strong the roles that he has taken have been.  In Enemy, he is playing two different characters and does a great job of making them both very different, but also similar in a sense that extends beyond the fact that it is the same guy.  I don’t want to explain further, as this goes into how the story reveals itself, but I can say that I really enjoyed the way this film wanted to test you in putting these characters on screen and having you understand what was going on without outright telling you in many instances.

Everything about this production is splendid as well.  I am speaking from a filmmaking standpoint, which consists of this strange yellow filter applied throughout by cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc, a haunting score by Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, and an eerie handle on the film in general, thanks to the use of the Ontario setting, the sound design, and plenty of other aspects that build this film up into such a unique experience.

With films like Under the Skin also having hit theaters recently, 2014 has had a number of bizarre films that deal with the concept of identity.  Enemy is among the best of them, given my appreciation for the film by way of its tricky lead performance, the atmosphere created and layered over this whole film, and the oddity of some of the recurring images that lead to what will be a memorably disturbing ending for me.  I was upset to have missed this film while it had a brief stint in theaters, but am very happy to have seen it now and still find myself thinking about it.


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Given the obvious use of a particular color to shade everything, which I will get to, Enemy may have a distinct look to add to its dread, but the clarity of the image never seems to suffer.  The quality of the detail is quite good here, as we see plenty within the darkness that shades this film.

Depth: The mix of extreme close-ups and wide shots do a fine job of making for an interesting viewing experience, while also providing a fine sense of depth, as the film mixes up what it is trying to do.  The Blu-ray manages to stay caught up just fine.

Black Levels: The amounts of shaded and darkened locations go down well for this disc, which features some minor moments of crush, but nothing that really takes away from the film’s tendency to rest in darkly lit locations.

Color Reproduction: The various shades of yellow that are overlaid throughout this film register quite nicely, masking the film in its sickly spell, which works well to communicate the sense of dread.  Other colors pop quite nicely as well, though this film is certainly not beautiful in a traditional sense, when it comes to the color pallet.

Flesh Tones: The close ups lead to some nice moments to observe the quality of the facial textures, which is quite consistent and detailed.

Noise/Artifacts: Takes some very minor hits, but still a very good looking disc.



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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish

Dynamics: This lossless track does a good job of providing the viewer with the appropriate audio experience for Enemy, which doesn’t try to explode off screen, but aids in building that atmosphere.

Low Frequency Extension: Some impressive sound effect moments, like the roar of a motorcycle provide a minor workout to the LFE channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: Attention is paid to the surrounding environments, which in turn aids in the surround presentation, which is able to nicely balance all the various sounds, music, and dialogue heard throughout.

Dialogue Reproduction: It is quite easy to hear Jake Gyllenhaal unravel though his words.



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There is almost nothing on this disc, but I added an extra half a star, because the one featurette is a pretty solid one.

Features Include:

  • Lucid Dreams: The Making of Enemy – A 17 minute look at the film, with many interviews involving the cast and crew discussing the enigma that is this film, without truly revealing what they may or may not know about what is actually going on.


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The lack of better extras really drags the overall score down, but I am fairly certain I am happier with only so much info on the ‘how’ of this film, as I was more entranced with thinking about the ‘why’.  This was the first Blu-ray in a while where I re-watched the film almost immediately after, because I found what I was seeing so bizarrely compelling that I wanted to be somewhat sure about how to approach discussing it.  It helps that the Blu-ray’s technical presentation is solid, making it a nice film to experience on a home entertainment system.  If you want to see something decidedly different, seek out Enemy.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

4 Responses to “Enemy (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I’m looking forward to checking this one out. I have not seen this one yet either!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Top-5 of the year material!

  3. Brian White

    Grabbed on Blu-ray for $9.99 today at Best Buy! Looking forward to checking it out. After I cross this off my list Blue Ruin is next!

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