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In the Theaters: Enemy and Non-Stop

– Posted in: Film Review

In the theater, courtesy of the NY Film Society, I checked out Enemy and Non-Stop:

Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal is about a nondescript professor whose life irrevocably changes when he sees his exact lookalike in a bit part in a film and tracks him down to confront him. I am a creature feature fan, and I suppose this film has some of that with a spider playing a symbolic role throughout the film. I’ll leave it at that so as not to spoil too much. The movie kept me curious while it unfolded, and that was the best part. That said, I can’t tell you more about the spider because I didn’t get it.

I did not get this movie so even while it kept me interested – why do they look exactly alike down to a birthmark? Why are the doubles so unhappy about this rather than celebrating a cosmic connection? Why does Jake Gyllenhaal always seem to meet a doomed end? – I was ultimately unsatisfied because I felt none of my questions were answered. This film is a reteaming of director Denis Villeneuve and actor Gyllenhaal since Prisoners, another dark, moody movie with an all-too understandable plot. I’d love to see these two team up more but with something in the middle – not too formulaic like Prisoners, and not too inaccessible like Enemy.

Non-Stop is a good popcorn flick for the modern era. When texting plays a central character in a film, you know our lives are undeniably digital.

You really can’t go wrong with Liam Neeson playing a troubled tough guy with a good heart and Julianne Moore playing an everywoman who happens to be gorgeous and therefore a potential love interest. The film meets its requisite diversity quota with Lupita Nyong’o playing a flight attendant without much to do, and another black actor playing the computer geek (of course, because Transformers did that too).

This is a movie that probably should just be a SyFy movie of the week, except at $50,000,000 (as estimated on IMDB) it’s too rich for TV. But that’s ultimately what it feels like – an adventure TV movie of the week. Perhaps, they could have put Samuel L. Jackson in the title role and revealed that the perpetrator was actually a snake, and then we could have a nice mash-up, double feature.


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