Enemy (2013)

Canada, Spain / 91 minutes / color / Pathé, Entertainment One, Telefilm Canada, Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Corus, Televisión Española, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Société de Développement des Enterprises Culturelles Québec, Rhombus, Roxbury, micro_scope, Mecanísmo, Alfa Dir: Denis Villeneuve Pr: Miguel A. Faura, Niv Fichman Scr: Javier Gullón Story: O Homem Duplicado (2002; vt The Double) by José Saramago Cine: Nicolas Bolduc Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini.

A highly enigmatic piece from a director whose noirish credentials are excellent, including offerings like Incendies (2010), Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017), all of which are likely to be covered here at some point. The enigma in Enemy focuses in part on the role of spiders in the movie’s subtext—apparently the cast and crew had to sign non-disclosure clauses on this matter—but primarily on what’s genuinely happening. Is the story actually one of a man finding his doppelgänger—or, really, his complementary self—or are we witnessing a protracted musing as a rather unpleasant man witnesses the pornographic death of a spider?

That last is the culmination of the movie’s opening sequence, set in some kind of exclusive live-pornography club, where seemingly well heeled men watch acts of sex and sadism. In one of these, an enormous spider is revealed, only to be crushed under the heel of a togaed woman. Witnessing the act is an as yet unidentified man, whom we’ll know with hindsight to be Anthony Claire (Gyllenhaal).

Sarah Gadon as Helen.

Cut now to the humdrum existence of meek-mannered history teacher Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal again). Each day he teaches the same class to seemingly the same students, then rides home on the same bus to have the same bonk with steady girlfriend Mary (Laurent). But a chance watching of a DVD reveals to him he has a physical double in the form of Continue reading

Counselor, The (2013)

vt The Counsellor
US, UK, Spain / 117 minutes / color / Fox 2000, Scott Free, Nick Wechsler, Chockstone, TCF Dir: Ridley Scott Pr: Ridley Scott, Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz Scr: Cormac McCarthy Cine: Dariusz Wolski Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Sam Spruell, Toby Kebbell, Rubén Blades, Edgar Ramírez, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic, Richard Cabral, John Leguizamo, Fernando Cayo, Dean Norris.

Counselor - 4 Malkina goes through charade of making confession

Malkina (Cameron Diaz) goes through the charade of making confession.

A lawyer (Fassbender) who has represented various figures in the drugs trade—and who’s referred to throughout only as Counselor—is tempted into taking part in the trade himself, investing in a cocaine shipment being brought from Mexico in a sewage truck. His friend Reiner (Bardem) facilitates the deal, as does another friend, Westray (Pitt), although the latter does his best to warn him off, using an account of a vicious snuff movie to illustrate (a) that, just as if you watch a snuff movie you’re guilty of complicity in the murder, so, if you invest in drugs trafficking, your involvement is far more than merely financial, and (b) that, whenever you think there’s something so sadistic and depraved that even the Mexican drug cartels wouldn’t do it, you’re wrong.

Counselor is much in love with Laura (Cruz); he goes to Amsterdam to purchase from a jeweler there (Ganz) a diamond of extraordinary loveliness for their engagement ring. Reiner has an imposing girlfriend of Mexican extraction, Malkina (Diaz), a one-time stripper who has come north to use her brains and looks to make good—in which effort she has been remarkably successful, more successful than anyone knows. Her hobbies including watching her twin cheetahs chase down and kill wildlife. Reiner is, rightly, afraid of her at the same time as he is completely infatuated with her.

Counselor - 1 The proposal to LauraCounselor (Michael Fassbender) proposes to Laura (Penélope Cruz).

Visiting an imprisoned client, Ruth (Perez), Counselor learns that her son (Cabral), nicknamed Green Hornet, has been arrested for Continue reading