V'S VERY OWN MOVIE BUFF, THE MULTI-TALENT GREG KRELENSTEIN GIVES US A RUNDOWN OF THE HITS AND MISSES FROM TORONTO'S 2013 INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
They say that everyone has a double, but rarely do they cross paths. The Double and Enemy are showcases for both their leading men, Jesse Eisenberg and Jake Gyllenhaal respectively, and examples of the best original filmmaking at this year’s festival.
In The Double (adapted from Dostoevsky’s novella of the same name), we first meet the film’s protagonist Simon (played by Jesse Eisenberg) in a nondescript data-entry office job. He is ignored, invisible and underappreciated by his boss (Clueless’s Wallace Shawn) and his crush, a co-worker played by Mia Wasikowska. Simon’s life takes a turn when his new colleague James—a doppelgänger also played by Eisenberg—starts to take over his life. James is quickly in the boss's good graces, stealing Simon's work, his girl and eventually, his identity. The film unfolds into the looking glass of Being John Malkovich territory, and demonstrates a big leap forward for director Richard Ayode, whose last film was the festival hit Submarine.
Enemy opens in a sex club, wherein an exotic dancer presents a huge tarantula on a tray, and then quickly puts it to death with her heel. What follows is a dark exploration of the blurred lines of identity and the subconscious. Based on Jose Saramago’s namesake novel, the film is far more cerebral than directors Denis Villeneuve's other TIFF offering, the Oscar-baiting Prisoners. Jake Gyllenhaal first appears as Adam, a bored history professor who would rather grade papers than go to bed with his wife (Melanie Laurent). When a colleague suggests escaping his boredom with movies, Adam rents a recommendation and notices a bit player bearing his identical
resemblance, and so tracks him down. The actor, Anthony (also played by Gyllenhaal), unlike Adam, is sexually driven and full of life. Soon their lives become dangerously intertwined, leading to a shocking finale. Delving into challenging existentialist themes isn’t what we’ve come to expect from Gyllenhaal, but he carries the film entirely with a powerful and memorable performance that will please a specific audience (that with an appetite for Cronenberg or Lynch). A24 will release this film in 2014.