Month: December 2015

Enemy (2015)

(I’ve put it under 2015 because that is when this film was released in the United Kingdom)

Jake Gyllenhaal has a knack for those creepy, disturbing, intense films recently doesn’t he? In his younger days was the likes of Donnie Darko, but now since 2007 he has starred in some of the creepier films to hit the box office, including the likes of Brothers, Zodiac and more recently Nightcrawler. 

This film knows how to build tension brilliantly. Directly from the live sex show scene (that wouldn’t go amiss in Ryan Gosling’s Lost River) up until Adam discovers his perfect doppelgänger Anthony (both played by Jake Gyllenhaal of course) in the film Where There’s a Will There’s a Way. An immediate obsession begins for Adam, and the tense ride continues and begins a downward spiral into a deep dark story.  

The subtle score throughout the movie is used to excellent effect and builds the tension massively, especially as Adam and Anthony interfere with their doppelgängers respective life. The music isn’t even blaring a whole lot, it’s just subtle tones used over a period time, but with dramatic and fantastic effect.

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Of course, the acting helps this movie out no end, with the creepiness invoked by Jake Gyllenhaal, who was known for hardly blinking in the movie Nightcrawler. Javier Gullón did an absolutely astounding job of adapting the novel, The Double,  originally written by José Saramago, as the film kept the twists coming and kept drawing me in with the information that was spilled.

Jake Gyllenhaal is supported by Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gabon, however, the necessary driving force (as I mentioned) is definitely Gyllenhaal. Convincingly Adam and Anthony had to have two different character arcs and they definitely did with Gyllenhaal handling this task superbly. Adam takes on the sheepish character arc, whereas Anthony takes on the confident arrogant character.

Villeneuve’s use of special effects is virtually nonexistent, possibly because of not wanting to shift the focus away from the story and the acting, which probably ended up being the best decision. His shots of Toronto are fantastic with the slight ting of green plastered throughout the film, giving it a very sickly feel (to probably represent the sickness that is sat in either Adam or Anthony’s head). And of course, not forgetting (possibly my favourite shot) the gigantic spider crawling around in the heights of Toronto. (see below)

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This film was a pleasure to watch and the pacing was brilliant. The film stood at around 90 minutes, but didn’t feel all that long through the dramatic use of music (in the right places of course) and the superb acting. And of course the real focal point of this film would be the story because to be truthful I’m still not 100% sure on the true nature of the story. (I would actually love to hear people’s interpretations about this and what you thought about this film as it still sits playing in my head)

8/10

I know this has been one of my shorter reviews, however with the nature of the story it was quite difficult to speak about it without giving away too much information. Truthfully, I recommend this film, I would not recommend however if you have a massive phobia of spiders as they are used in a few scenes.

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Lords of Dogtown (2005)

After watching this film a while ago, I recently rewatched this and simply think it’s an enjoyable film that should be shared with everyone. Lords of Dogtown is a story of the West Coasts love affair with all things moving. With the aid of their much inebriated team manager, four members of Zephyr skateboarding team become accidental pioneers for the scene.

However, Lords of Dogtown doesn’t typically start with skateboarding. It rather starts with the four kids, trying to surf the infamous ‘Cove’, only to be shunned away Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger) and his bunch of cronies. Skip, who runs his own surf shop, is given some polyurethane wheels, and Sid (one of the four friends, at the centre of this story) presents these wheels to his friends. And thus the dynamic of this story is changed.

Their love of surfing is quickly changed into a love for skateboarding after Skip creates his own skateboarding competition team, the famous Zephyr Skateboarding Team. However, Stacy Peralta (John Robinson) is initially left out of the team after Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk) and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch) outshine him in the early stages.

Excellently, the film keeps the skateboarding scenes entertaining with the quick cuts, but also impressive use of music during the triumphant rise to power the Zephyr team undergo. The key to remember is that this film is set in the early 1970s, so it features a raw use of skateboarding, not the shredding skateboarding skills we’re used to seeing from the likes of Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and so on, so forth. But this is why these kids are considered the pioneers due to the fact they started a motion of events to bring about the famous skateboards my generation know.

The swimming pool sessions are particularly entertaining as the team continually try to outdo each other and scouting missions to try and find bigger and emptier pools. This also attributes to their fame as they begin featuring in magazines and getting noticed by the bigger skateboarding companies. As the film documents this, it also shows the varying opinions from the three main boys as Tony Alva wants to be famous, Stacy trying a more low-key approach to this whereas Jay simply wants to enjoy what they’re doing irregardless of fame.

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During a party at Skip’s, Tony Alva is recruited by Topper Burks (Johnny Knoxville) and thus begins the unravelling of the the Zephyr skate team. As the story quickens and each of the team branch out and reach fame, the story quickens and matches the pace of the film during the swimming pool sessions.

In my honest opinion, I believe this to be the wrong choice as the story of the members leaving the Zephyr team is glazed over, much like the relationships between Stacy, Tony and Jay and of course with their much-inenibrated … I’m not sure. Role model? Father figure? Leader? I’m truly at a loss how to describe the relationship between the team and Skip other than the man that takes them to the competitions. I believe the film had room to improve on the relationships throughout the film, rather than focus on the blossoming rivalry between Tony and Stacy. (this rivalry was probably not helped by Skip, considering he picks Tony and not Stacy to begin with – he may have even started it, but he certainly added fuel)

As I mentioned the soundtrack is worked fantastically. It isn’t too overpowering on the film, but works perfectly and gives that Southern Californian mindset for the young, rebellious teenagers of the time period. Mixed in during the skateboarding and surfing adventures throughout the film, it makes for a thoroughly entertaining ride.

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(Next part may contain spoilers) 

This is the same for the story of Jay’s closer friend in the latter stages of the film, Sid (Michael Angarano) as their relationships seemingly becomes a strong bond that doesn’t seem to be shown on screen, rather the competitions between Alva and Peralta take up more than enough screen time. Sid’s story is actually one of the sadder parts to the film, due to the circumstances, but makes the film become full circle, as it gives the excuse to show the follow ons after what were called The Dogbowl Sessions (which was actually just Sid’s fathers pool drained).

(End of potential spoilers – Just watch the film before reading this!)

Was Lords of Dogtown groundbreaking for 2005 cinema? Probably not. (I mean I didn’t hear about this film til it popped up on my netflix a year or two ago) but was it entertaining with a interesting look at the 1970s Californian lifestyle or surfing and skating underneath the sun. It’s also a chance to see a young Emile Hirsch sport a shaven head and Tony Hawk fall off a skateboard in an awesome cameo appearance.

7/10.