Help me work through this, would you? You're credited as Jake Gyllenhaal's double in Enemy. Except Jake Gyllenhaal also plays his own double in Enemy. Meaning you did double the double duty. Whenever Gyllenhaal looks into his own eyes, he's actually looking into yours. But really, he's looking at himself, because as far as this film's concerned, you don't exist. But of course you do, right? I'm talking to you right now. I looked you up in the film's credits, just like Gyllenhaal does in the…
Wait a second.
Sorry, Gord. I may have just inadvertently mixed us up with the mobius strip mindbender that is Denis Villeneuve's Enemy.
The film is based on Jose Saramago's novel, The Double. The fact the two otherwise identical stories go by different names is interesting. Enemies and doubles aren't exactly synonymous (imagine being credited as Jake Gyllenhaal's Enemy?), so this new identity re-orients the way we understand the film. It's also nice bit of meta-textual symmetry for the two characters in the film itself. After all, why simply duplicate the original when you can appropriate what's inside and call it something else? Something antithetical, no less, that reflects back on the source to help us find new meaning…
I'm doing it again, aren't I? Well, it's just going to be that kind of letter. Because it's that kind of film. The kind where a man watches a "local" film that a friend half-heartedly recommended (the way we do here in Canada). After some reflection, he scrolls through the credits to find the name of the person he wants to connect with. Someone whose work really stood out for him. He does some research about the person online, gathering basic info--after all, he needs to get a better sense of how to approach the situation, lest he mess the whole thing up.
Honestly, there were times I couldn't tell if I was watching a movie or a documentary about Dear Cast and Crew.
This begs the question: will anyone else besides me relate to - or be consumed by - this picture? Faithful Donnie Darko fans will no doubt enjoy going down a similarly dark, but more mature and introspective, rabbit hole with their old pal Gyllenhaal. Arachno-ethusiasts (no, not that kind) will also enjoy numerous creepy connections: manifestations, dream-sequences, and the web-like infrastructure of Toronto's TTC power lines. In fact, everyone in that city should probably see this "local" film, which features Toronto as just another a smoggy, anonymous metropolis. Even the familiar architecture - like those twin condos shaped like curved bodies - takes on a more menacing presence. Much more than, say, the city's other doubles-dabbling histoire du jour, Orphan Black.
There are plenty of great doppelganger films to compare with Enemy. They include The Double Life of Veronique, Solaris, Vertigo, um… Mulitiplicty? But the strength of this one is that it acts like it's the first and only version. With that kind of confidence, it presents itself as being wholly unique.
Don't we all?
P.S. Forgive me if I don't call your agency to track you down. Someone needs to break the cycle.