Enemy (2013) Poster

(2013)

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9/10
ill explain enemy for everyone
raisingparanoia3 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
nobody seems to understand enemy, I loved the movie personally and you understand it if you watch it twice and pay attention.

okay ill try to explain it, it is about one man fighting with himself , while it is portrayed as two people (Anthony/Daniel and Adam) only one of them is real, and its Adam, I know this because in the beginning on the phone his mother is speaking and says "Adam honey" and also later on in the movie his mother also tells Adam (who is not an actor) to give up his dreams of being a third rate actor. now the story of this movie is hard to understand , its about Adam and Helens marriage and the remaining spark of an old affair, in the beginning you see it open with Jake Gyllenhaal in what is presumably a strip club, eventually you see a woman come out and step on a spider, the woman is Mary, Adam's affair , after that it opens to Adam sitting in his car as you hear his mother leave a voice mail for him. Throughout the movie you see spiders, spiders represent his affair with Mary, and how he still thinks about it, and when you see Adam with Mary he really isn't its just representing his still lasting feelings for her. you see when Adam calls Anthony it really wasn't Adam, it never happened, the whole phone call scene was his imagination, helping him realize he needs to forget about Mary. I'm gonna skip a bunch of unimportant things and try to go as chronologically as I can. At the point where Anthony tells Adam hes going to have sex with his girlfriend , that's really just Adam thinking to himself about him needing to get rid of Anthony and the memories of Mary. so when Anthony goes and takes Mary out that doesn't really happen. whats happening is Adam is thinking that up to help in the getting rid of memories, it is also revealed that Adam is the real person when Adam and Helen lay down and Helen asks how was school . the scene of Mary and Anthony having sex and Mary freaking out is Adam realizing he is married and needs to get rid of the memories, when Anthony and Mary crash the car it is Adam killing off the memories , squashing the spider per Se , this is supported when it zooms in on the crashed cars window the crack looks like a spiderweb, when Adam wakes up the radio speaks of a car crash but it says no details so It is likely that was just chance. also Helen reminds him about his mother calling him, which you should remember from the beginning of the movie. when Adam opens the letter and gets the key, it is a key to the strip club place, and he says to Helen he might have to go somewhere tonight. he goes to look at her and she is a huge spider, this represents how him going to the strip club would bring back the spider. during the movie the spider gets gradually bigger until it is huge and he cannot get it off his mind. so I hope I've explained well enough to help you understand what an amazing movie this truly is.
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9/10
"Enemy" movie analysis and meaning
pablocarlier21 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Enemy" is the latest movie from Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, of "Prisoners" fame.

It is a doppelgänger story about a boring, gray man that discovers there is a cool, fancy actor that looks exactly like him. Exactly. Of course, he can't resist getting in touch with him, and of course that's where trouble begins.

Its twisted plot, visual features and philosophical themes have earned it a "what the heck" fame.

This movie is total chaos.

This is me trying to decipher it.

NOTE: This is just a summary, for my full review please visit: bit.ly/1eVEtD6

Adam and Anthony are two sides of the same person.

This is a man who feels trapped by his present as a boring, married, college professor about to become a father. He remembers his old dreams of youth (being an actor, having a cool bike, being a "man"). Spiders in the movie represent the "woman as a trap" in his mind, commitment that represses his individuality.

He gets carried away and leaves her wife and life for an adventure with another woman. This is represented by the initial private club scene where a stripper (his instinct) crushes a spider (the burden of his marriage and child).

He lives as an empty shell during this affair (memories stuffed in boxes in the back of his mind, torn pictures of his past representing the disconnect from his wife).

He reminisces of his old life (represented as his finding and research of his doppelgänger and his household). He does not like what he sees when he discovers his impulsive self. We learn he left aside his dreams for his wife (six months without visiting the acting agency, six months pregnant).

He is reminded by his mother (his conscience) of what really matters and what he has. Finally, he decides to return to his wife after an internal struggle where his instincts and his sense of responsibility fight to death. This death of his passionate, independent self is depicted literally as a car crash that kills his desire and ends with the close-up of a spider-web. He is trapped again.

His responsible self has dominated. But he is bound to make the same mistakes all over again. He finds and decides to use the key to the private club, darker desires come back to haunt him. And the cycle starts over again, in Hegelian form, repressing the self for the collectivism.
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9/10
Psychological masterpiece - a movie for every man's mind.
jovanovicslo28 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
First thing that came to mind about this movie is, how much it reminds me of Kubrick's: Eyes Wide Shut. It's surrealism, it's ambiance, atmosphere and the theme nonetheless. The movie is beautifully woven together into a magical and complete world of it's own. In which some people who saw the film lost themselves and found it frustrating, and others found a magical way of portraying the character's mind. I must admit, I am one of the latter.

MY TAKE ON THE MOVIE:

1. THEME: The man lost in a world of his own choices, his own desires and vices. A constant struggle in every man's life, mind, heart. A world in which every man watching it, realizes, it is he himself, who is his worst enemy.

2. CHARACTERS: It is one person and two faces of the same man, as the poster itself portrays. The story itself tells you that in the scar aspect of the confrontation, where there is no doubt that they are no twins, that there is no way of thinking it can be a different person. Also his mother tells him to "stop dreaming about that acting hobby of yours".

3. "REALITY": What people watching want to do first, is construct a realistic world of it. And it's not. Watch it as a dream. Plenty of those tips and leads are left by the director to take you there (note for example the giant spiders strutting about the city landscape, the photography of the movie, etc.).

4. STORY: The beginning of the movie shows a pregnant wife, that of a man (both men/main characters)! It is a part of him that wants to escape. That webbed, trapped part and therefore create an alter ego, another self in which he can try to live out a different reality. A reality of a free sexual drive and ego. A reality without his wife. And in that urge and desire, the visuals of a crushed spider is always appear. (spiders being a symbol of his wife and the symbol of his relationship and commitment).

Therefore the teacher part is that part in which he can freely cheat on the wife. Note that the teacher's girlfriend is always leaving him in the middle of the night, never staying for the night. There is also mention of his cheating by his wife, when she asks him "you're seeing her again, aren't you", after he was on the phone.

He can be a free man without any guilt, but with that also comes the aftermath of such a life, no real purpose in his life, no satisfaction (his appearance and his almost depressed psychological state portray this part). His apartment also tells the story of this, empty, unfurnished, almost as a hotel room, just a usable space.

So his free, able to cheat part is seeking something more in life, someone that he can relate to, in effect, seeking his other self's wife and life. And the other part of him, married and bound is searching for the sexual adventures, ego and freedom. That's why the switch comes to place.

In the end, as one part of a man dies, the other is left with a "chosen reality". A choice every man has to make. He makes love to his wife, takes the place of a married man, and becomes solely that. And with that, he chose to confront the spider that is his commitment and his wife. But the lure of the key left behind is always there...
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9/10
A disturbing psychological thriller
trublu21513 March 2014
Enemy is the latest thriller from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, and it stands as a hybrid mix of David Lynch and David Fincher at their very finest. Enemy follows Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) on a journey to find his exact lookalike named Anthony, a terrible D-list celebrity. As his investigation deepens, the mystery thickens and he is thrown into a fray way above his head. What works in Enemy is Gyllenhaal's fearless performance as a man who is searching to find who he really is. There are a couple scenes that he has where is truly riveting and it becomes so hard to take your eyes off the screen. It really is an explosive yet very contained performance that I feel needs a lot of recognition. Enemy marks itself as a film about identity and never knowing who you truly are and the pressures of wanting to become something you're not. While it remains as a heavy message, it still makes for a film that almost demands repeat viewings. At 90 minutes even, the film moves and never slows down enough for us to even breathe. Before we can even question what is going on in one scene, Villeneuve throws us another curve ball to contend with. While that may bring confusion to many people, it is very welcoming to a viewer in the mood to do some serious thinking. Anything beyond that, it may garner some negative responses especially if you're not paying close attention. Enemy works well as a psychological thriller, bringing some of the most disturbing images I've seen on screen in recent years. This film is NOT scary, but it is extremely uneasy and very creepy, especially towards the last twenty minutes of the film, which had me holding my breath as we finally discover the truth of what is going on.

Overall, this is one hell of a film that really does almost require a second (and possibly a third) viewing. I highly recommend it, especially to fans of David Lynch's Eraserhead. The images are memorable, the performances are very well rounded and this is just a very very well done film.
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8/10
The weirdest yet most enjoyable movie experience I have had in years.
BigDick39 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Villeneuve has came out and produced another brilliant film, I love that he has used Jake Gyllenhall again after Prisoners. He owns this film with a wonderful performance.

There is a lot of confusion about the film and what the spiders represent, was there really 2 Jakes or were they the same guy? I have read some pretty interesting ideas from other people, I don't claim to completely understand it but would like to throw something out there for consideration.

The movie opens with the biggest clue of how to understand what your about to see when the message "Chaos is order yet undeciphered" appears. The whole movie is like a jigsaw puzzle that will make sense if you can put it together in the correct order.

I have not read every review or theory on it but from the ones I have read all seem to believe that the scene in the "Sex Club" we see at the beginning happens before most of the other scenes and that the scene at the end where he tells the wife he plans on going out before she turns into a giant spider is him repeating the cycle all over again.

In my opinion the "Sex Club" scene takes place afterwards, we see him walking down the corridor with the caretaker and only Jake has a key, he lets the caretaker in. We hear in the elevator the caretaker has been before but does not think he will get a new key. So it's my opinion that the key in the envelope is the new keys that were being sent out and he as a favour allows the caretaker to tag along.

There are some clues throughout the film though that go along with the theme of history repeating himself for example when we hear Jake give a lecture and then the same lecture slightly mumbled and less enthusiastic. I have read people say this represents his day to day life however my opinion is that they are actually a year apart. He was giving the same lecture to the next generation of students. I believe that most of the story takes place over a period of a year based on the 2 incidents where "6 months" is mentioned. The first is when he goes to the talent agency and the security guard has not seen him in 6 months, and then again when his wife says she is 6 months pregnant.

I won't go through every scene and tell you my opinion of what goes where as part of the fun is figuring it out for yourself by watching it a second and even third time.

I could be way off with all of this and completely wrong, but in my opinion that is the beauty of this movie.
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8/10
An Addicting Mind-Bender from the Director of PRISONERS
brando64717 October 2014
Denis Villeneuve garnered a lot of attention for his mainstream success with PRISONERS, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, but it was it smaller, more obscure release that I wanted to see. ENEMY was released around the same time as PRISONERS but never saw a national release and I had to wait for the home video release to finally catch it. Watching it, I figured out why it never went mainstream. Most general audiences don't like something they can't understand, and ENEMY is probably best described as a mental cluster fu…mess. It has a surface plot that's easy enough to understand but the film is loaded with symbolism and deeper themes. Most of which can't be discussed without entering spoiler territory so I won't touch on it much, but this is a movie that inspires discussion or…at the very least…will leave you contemplating it long after it ends. I know my first viewing led to two days of thought trying to decipher what I'd seen and it wasn't until I scoured the Internet, reading over the frustration of others and the myriad of proposed meanings, that I felt I'd come to an understanding. But that's me and my obsessive nature, and others can do their own research. On the surface, ENEMY is about history teacher Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal). Adam is suggested a film from a work colleague that he might enjoy and becomes obsessed when an extra in the film looks exactly like him. He tracks the actor down, Anthony (also Gyllenhaal), and discovers they're physically identical in every way. And then it gets weird.

At first impression, ENEMY is a very depressing film. It's incredibly dark with lots of shadows and harsh lighting, and the entire movie has this bizarre yellow tint to it. Everything is has an unnerving yellow sickness to it. And the characters…well, no one is happy here. Adam is a depressing little man. He doesn't say much and he's very socially awkward. He's got a beautiful girlfriend named Mary (Mélanie Laurent) but there's some unknown tension between the two of them. She seems to come to his barren apartment every night and the two of them spend a minimal amount of time together before moving to the bedroom, and she always seems to leave in anger or exasperation when it's through. Anthony is more outgoing, more confident. He's married to a beautiful woman (Sarah Gadon) in a crumbling marriage racked with previous infidelities on his part. She seems hopeful that he's changed but the recent events where he hides his meeting with Adam have her wondering if he's returned to old habits. Everyone's pretty miserable but Adam finds hope for something interesting when he encounters his doppelganger. Whatever it was that piqued his interest, it fades fast as the two come face-to-face and Adam immediately regrets it. Anthony immediately moves to do what pretty much any one of us would probably do if we discovered we had an exact duplicate somewhere in the world with a beautiful girlfriend.

The surface plot is simple enough but there is so much more boiling beneath the surface of ENEMY. Honestly, I'd seen it twice and couldn't quite piece it together on my own. I only came to full understanding after doing some additional searching around the web for interpretations. I didn't have to do all the supplemental research. The movie's was perfectly fine as a piece of head-scratcher entertainment. I wanted to do it. I found ENEMY so enthralling that I wanted to know more. It's a very slow moving movie and spends most of the first half establishing the atmosphere and building the suspension but then it grabs you and you can't stop watching because you're so interested in seeing how it'll all play out. At least, I was. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing in the dual role. I was impressed with Sam Rockwell in Duncan Jones' MOON but Rockwell was essentially playing the same character interacting with itself. Gyllenhaal invests such seamless separate personalities into Adam and Anthony that they truly feel like two individual men. He's done an incredible job with ENEMY and I hope he gets some accolades for it. Mélanie Laurent isn't given much as Mary, but Sarah Gadon is undeniably sympathetic as Anthony's pregnant, hopeful wife Helen. Every involved brings their best to the table, making ENEMY one of the better hidden gems I've found in the past year's independent film selection. It's not going to be a film for everyone but anyone who enjoys a film that leaves you contemplating it after the credits roll should give ENEMY a chance.
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More An Art House Film Than Mainstream Feature.
CinemaClown12 May 2014
Asking for your attention at all times, providing little clues in almost every sequence & still leaving you puzzled in the end, Enemy inclines more towards art house cinema than mainstream features and isn't going to please every viewer out there. It tells the story of a college professor living a mundane daily life who later seeks out his doppelgänger after spotting him in a movie thus setting in motion a chain of events which culminates with terrible consequences.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (director of Incendies & Prisoners), Enemy is an ambitious work from the director who, of lately, has been steadily rising as one of the filmmakers to watch out for and is another fine feature in his bag. The writing makes a fine adaptation from the novel it's based on but also infuses more allegories & symbolism in the form of spiders into the script to keep the viewers guessing from start to finish.

Performances by the cast is very good with Jake Gyllenhaal playing the college professor & his lookalike movie actor with fine subtlety & the contribution by the supporting cast is strong as well. Cinematography captures the film with a very warm colour temperature blended with high contrasts along with excellent use of lighting. The background score has a pretty muted presence in here & editing has carefully structured the film with layers after layers of visual motifs.

One thing that'll bug its audience is if Jake Gyllenhaal characters are different persons or same. Other thing that'll leave them utterly confused is the ending if they still haven't figured out the meaning of spiders in the film. But hints are provided throughout its runtime & repeated viewings will only help in clearing those doubts. On an overall scale, Enemy is that brain-teasing cinematic ride which viewers would either risk to experience or reject it outright. Multiple viewings advised.
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10/10
'Chaos is order yet undeciphered'
gradyharp27 September 2014
Portuguese author José Saramago (1922 – 2010), whose celebrated novels can be seen as allegories and commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the human factor (BLINDNESS, SEEING, THE STONE RAFT, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO Jesus Christ, DEATH WITH INTERRUPTIONS, THE CAVE, ALL THE NAMES, CAIN etc), published THE DOUBLE in 2002: it took more than 10 years before being transformed for the screen by Javier Gullón and directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve. For those who remain under the spell of Saramago's strange and seductively intelligent writing this film will satisfy. For those who prefer linear story lines of everyday possibilities the film will likely not find an appreciative audience. This is a film that demands the full attention of the viewer and the acceptance of alternative ways of viewing reality and alternative reality.

Living in Toronto, Adam Bell Jake Gyllenhaal) is a college history professor, a loner, routiner, whose contact with the world outside the classroom is limited to life with his live in girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent). A fellow teacher (Joshua Peace), apparently attempting to open Adam's vistas, recommends he watch films and recommends a particular film to Adam. When Adam watches the film he notes an actor playing a bellhop who looks like Adam. He becomes obsessed with finding out about this double of his. He learns that the actor's stage name is Daniel Saint Claire, whose legal name is Anthony Claire (again Jake Gyllenhaal). Claire is a Toronto based actor with only a few on-screen credits, and is married to a woman named Helen (Sarah Gadon) who is six months pregnant. Adam becomes obsessed with meeting Claire, who he learns upon first sighting that they look exactly the same, from the facial hair to a scar each has, but Claire who seemingly better adjusted than Adam. Their lives become intertwined as Claire himself ends up becoming obsessed with Adam, but in a slightly different way. Is Adam viewing his alternate real self (a married man with a child on the way) and escaping his reality with an affair with Mary? It is left for the viewer to decide.

The atmosphere created by the actors (Gyllenhaal is excellent as are Laurent, Gadon, and Isabella Rossellini who plays Claire's - or Adam's? - mother), the cinematography by Nicolas Bolduc and the music score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans are stunning. The introduction of a tarantula motif adds further mystery to this vivid film. A film for adventuresome thinkers who enjoy being challenged. Grady Harp, September 14
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7/10
Kafka meets Lynch!
corrosion-218 November 2013
Denis Villeneuve, whose last two films were the hugely impressive Incendies and Prisoners, has concocted a real oddity here. If you can imagine David Lynch adapting a Kafka novel, then you will be in the right neighborhood! In Incendies and Prisoners,Villeneuve inserted serious moral and social issues in the context of first rate thrillers' Here he follows the same tradition but the tone is more abstract and absurd. Neverherless, Enemy, adapted from a novel by the Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago, is always gripping and totally fascinating. A man (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets a recommendation from a colleague to watch a particular video. The main actor in the video appears to be his doppelgänger and the two agree to meet. To reveal any more would lessen the enjoyment of this highly original film. Well worth catching.
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10/10
Enemy proves Villeneuve's versatility by telling a mind-boggling mystery with stunning twists and turns.
PointMan52849119 April 2014
With last year's successful thriller Prisoners, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve made a name for himself among American moviegoers. A year later, with the release of Enemy, the impact Villeneuve has left doesn't seem to be anything that will die down any time soon. Reteaming with his Prisoners star Jake Gyllenhaal, Enemy proves Villeneuve's versatility by telling a mind-boggling mystery with stunning twists and turns, deep hidden meanings, and a tremendous double performance by Gyllenhaal.

Adam Bell is a disheveled, run-of-the-mill everyman living in Toronto, Canada, where he works as a college history professor. When he's not teaching at the university, he's sitting around his high-rise apartment in a bored manner or making love with his girlfriend, Mary. Life for Adam is, for a lack of a better word, boring.

Things change when a colleague recommends a movie to Adam. Not a fan of watching movies, Adam very reluctantly agrees to rent the film from a local video store. Initially unimpressed with the movie, Adam notices something odd within the movie: one of the actors, by the name of Anthony St. Claire, looks like him. Identical to him, even. This strange discovery fuels an obsession within Adam. An obsession that faces him with situations he would have never expected.

Adapted from Jose Saramago's The Double, Javier Gullon's screenplay leaves the true meaning behind these events up to the viewer. Although there are very subtle hints to the general idea of the story, there is no clear cut answer to the many twists and turns faced within the film's 90 minute run time. What may be a story of totalitarian beliefs to one viewer, as referenced in Adam's lecture in the beginning of the film, may be a story of marriage in the modern era. It's amazing how screenplays like these can have such a wide range of themes without any of them being wrong.

Despite a talented cast including Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, and Isabella Rossillini, it's Jake Gyllenhaal who steals the show. Gyllenhaal delicately balances the introverted, resentful nature of Adam with the loud, imposing personality of Anthony. It's even more impressive that this performance stands as one of Gyllenhaal's finest in his long list of great roles. Gadon gives a surprisingly great performance, managing to say a lot with just a long glance at Gyllenhaal. Laurent and Rossillini have smaller roles, but are important assets to the story nonetheless.

Enemy has the eerie atmosphere and the thrilling plot that Prisoners had, but that's really their only similarities. Whereas Prisoners was grounded in reality, Enemy is more dream-like, more surreal. This all comes through Villeneuve's delightful directing style, featuring some truly frightening imagery that will strike a nerve with its viewers. However, the hypnotic nature of the film never takes away from its storytelling, which is woefully important for a film that relies this much on its storyline.

Enemy isn't for everybody, but it's target demographic is sure to find the film to be spellbinding and hypnotic. Villeneuve's devious directing is sure to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat the whole time, up until the chilling final frame before the film cuts to the credits. Gyllenhaal holds up the entire film with his bravado double performance, as well as the fantastic supporting cast. With all this together, Enemy has proved to be one of 2014's earliest successes, and it is going to prove to be a tough one to beat.
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8/10
Enemy Review
anthonymora229 September 2014
Summer 2014 has come and gone and with it we got stories of superheroes,dragons,and of course apes on horses!However with the end of the scorcher season comes Autumn,a darker time where darker movies come out and to send of thr summer I end it with a review of a film that tackles adultery,self-conflict,totalitarianism and other much darker themes.The film is called Enemy,and it might be the most compelling film I have seen in 2014.

Enemy is the story of history teacher,Adam Bell (JAKE GYLLENHAAL) who,one day out of the blue,gets a movie recommendation EH😃 from a coworker.So he finds the movie at a local rental store and upon a rewatch,discovers that a certain actor in the movie looks exactly like him,minus an awesome beard.So Adam discovers the man is Anthony Claire(ALSO played by GYLLENHAAL),who's a small time actor,who actually happens to live in the same neighborhood himself,and the two look alikes to unravel just what the hell is going on and as a person who really supports going into these kinds of movies as oblivious as possible that's really all I wanna say about the plot.It's a pretty...riveting film to say the least.

That being said,this is NOT by any means a movie for everyone!Not just because of the unconventional way the film or the story are crafted,but just because of the touchy subject matter that the movie portrays.The simple story of JAKE GYLLENHAAL'S twin characters may sound like a Lindsay Lohan style,quircky time but let me tell you guys that the story of Enemy,when really looked into,is really a well written and acted story of a man who's trying to overcome his inner demons and personal problems that are wrecking his life and loved ones.It's a hard movie to review and more of a movie for discussion.And THAT ladies and gentlemen is why I like this movie WAY more than most people might!The symbology and images used to tell the story like the use of spiders is great.I love when a movie can tell a story by mere images and scenes that contain very little dialog,it's credit to director,DENIS VILLENEUVE'S excellent vision and the strong cast performances.

Which brings me to Mr.JAKE GYLLENHAAL,his performance in this movie is terrific.May I remind you that he plays two roles,which means two different characters,both with their own unique physical trademarks,ways of speaking,even walking posture and that's why I was so blown away by how good,JAKE pulled of his roles.His career has really blossomed as of late and with NIGHTCRAWLER releasing in a few months I've got this guy on my top actors to watch list.There is a supporting cast as well,with MELANIE LAURENT and SARAH GADON both who are really great opposite the two Jakes.I really enjoyed their characters and the raw emotion that they showcase.

The movie is technically flawless to me,some people might get turned off by the simple color palette but it really gave the movie the right look and tone.The musical score is also fantastic,you can tell a lot of it may have been inspired by the movies of ALFRED HITCHCOCK like VERTIGO'S classic score.Actually a lot of this entire movie really feels influenced by HITCHCOCK'S work.

ENEMY is my favorite kind of movie,one that promotes thought,discussion,and really shows that movies can be SOOO much more than MEGAN FOX running in slo-mo or constant reboots and sequels.There are unique stories that can be told by talented story tellers in ways that may not be told in a traditional,movie way.ENEMY is a movie that sucks you in with it's characters,performances,and sheer mystery at what might happen in the next scene.It's a powerful character study,a really suspenseful psychological thriller and I GIVE IT MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! BUY THIS MOVIE!Unless you can't stand art films,just don't bother. 8/10

What about you guys? Have you seen or even heard of ENEMY? Are you interested? Let me know what you think,drop a comment,and LET'S TALK MOVIES!
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9/10
"Enemy" - Remarkable, Mysterious, Provocative
earnest96731 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A previous review by Andrew Ellington has thoughts about "Enemy" that echo my own. Ellington's incisive observations about "...the struggle for self-identity..." are, I believe, the key to the power of the film. I am reminded of "Fight Club," another film which has that same issue at its center. And, of course, the parallels to Hitchcock's "Vertigo" resonate as well.

There is exceptionally fine work by Jake Gyllenhaal (always an extraordinary actor in both drama and comedy), Sarah Gadon (her intensity is remarkable), and director Denis Villeneuve.

But the most compelling aspects of the film for me were threefold: the extraordinary music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, a spare, evocative score that deepens the mystery of the narrative; the hauntingly somber grayish-yellow cinematography by Nicolas Bolduc; and the exquisitely paced editing by Matthew Hannam.

For those viewers who urgently ask for an 'explanation' of the last scene, I suggest that they are asking the wrong question. A more appropriate question is "how does the final scene magnify the emotional and dramatic values we've been experiencing throughout the film?" The question can only be answered by each individual viewer, or not at all.

But for me, the impact of the last scene is not about WHAT Adam/Anthony sees in the bedroom, but the final shot itself: his REACTION to what he sees. He doesn't look terrified. Rather, he looks bewildered, baffled, and puzzled, with even a trace of disappointment and sadness in his expression. It's a stunning piece of non-verbal communication from Gyllenhaal.

John David Earnest
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7/10
Watch It with Attention, Seek Explanation in Internet and Watch It Again
claudio_carvalho26 September 2014
In Toronto, the college professor of Politics Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) lives a routine life with his girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent). One day, he watches a rented DVD and sees an obscure supporting actor very alike to him and Adam becomes obsessed find him out. He discovers that his name is Anthony Claire and he is married with Helen (Sarah Gadon), who is six-month pregnant. Adam meets Anthony but soon he realizes that it was a mistake since his counterpart has put his eyes on Mary. Soon their lives become entwined.

"Enemy" is not a good movie, but has an intriguing story by José Saramago. For me, a good movie is able to present the story with neither the need of reading the novel not researching explanation in Internet. "Enemy" is a movie where the viewer needs to watch with attention, seek explanation in Internet (for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9AWkqRwd1I provides a good explanation of the movie) and watch it again. Therefore the screenwriter fails in his script. Anyway it is intriguing and when you see it for the second time, it is worthwhile. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Homem Duplicado" ("The Duplicated Man")
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5/10
Smart and intriguing, but so resolutely oblique that it's hard to really care about how (oddly) it ends.
shawneofthedead10 April 2014
From The Prince And The Pauper through to Sweet Valley High, literature and fiction has held a particular fascination with the notion of doppelgangers: two (or more) individuals who are physically identical and yet fundamentally different, whether in personality or social station. Denis Villeneuve's Enemy, a psychologically-charged mystery that's more thoughtful than thrilling, explores the idea that there's someone else in the world who shares your face but has, seemingly, nothing else to do with you. It's fascinating, mostly, but also slow- moving and, ultimately, frustrating.

History professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) leads a dull, repetitive life: he lectures unappreciative kids about totalitarian dictatorships, has bursts of largely uncommunicative sex with his maybe-girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent), and otherwise shuffles through the day in a lethargic haze. But everything in his humdrum existence changes when he watches an obscure movie in which, for a brief moment, he spots himself. Turns out he has a doppelganger: a not entirely successful actor by the name of Anthony St. Claire. Adam becomes obsessed with meeting Anthony, and soon their lives become irretrievably entangled.

There are many ways to play a scenario like this one: Enemy could easily have been a broad farce (just add in pratfalls and double-takes), or a heart-stopping thrill ride (mix in life-threatening cases of mistaken identity). But Villeneuve has chosen a determinedly glum, very philosophical approach to Adam's dilemma. He frets to his mother (a nicely-cast Isabella Rossellini) about the possibility that he has a twin, and finds himself in a worryingly intimate situation with Anthony's pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon), but high drama proves elusive until the final ten minutes or so. The resulting film, soaked in shades of yellow, is moody and considered, its pace bordering on the languid as Adam stumbles through his existential crisis.

Anyone looking for easy answers or a clear message will be disappointed. Enemy is very much what you make of it: it's packed with ideas that are never fully explored, about lives never lived and the notion of identity, which audiences can pick apart at their own leisure. In fact, the film ends just when a more mainstream, accessible version of this story might begin. The final shot is less cathartic than outright puzzling, underscoring the completely alien life into which Adam has stumbled once he chose to hunt down Anthony.

Whatever you make of the film, there's no denying that this is some of the best work Gyllenhaal has done in his career to date. He inhabits his two characters very well, slipping into Adam's despondent skin as easily as he finds Anthony's brash confidence. This is really his film, but he receives capable support from Laurent, who breathes personality into a paper-thin character. She helps make it particularly intriguing that, when it really matters, Mary - despite having a less apparently happy relationship with Adam - proves better able to tell the two men apart than Helen.

Almost boldly, Enemy refuses to go down any of the routes you might expect when a man stumbles upon his exact double by chance. It doesn't plunge into sci-fi territory, suggesting they're clones; nor does it dip into the melodrama of hinting that they might be twins separated at birth. Instead, it baldly states the fact - there are two men with Gyllenhaal's face in the world - and drifts after the revelation in a determinedly art-house manner, refusing to tie up any loose ends or offer any simple conclusions. It makes for a compelling film, if not a particularly satisfying one.
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10/10
Go and feel trapped - it's worth it.
sepial10 May 2014
Watching this film, knowing little to nothing of what would find me, turned out one of the most pleasant film experiences in months. And perhaps it might be necessary to explain 'pleasant' here: the word does not necessarily mean that one is comforted, has fun in the usual meaning. Film-wise it means, at its best, to be challenged. Challenged, here, meant to be glued to the screen. It's a little difficult to write a review on it. I've read through some of the others and saw that almost all reviewers had problems. Some were trying to solve the riddle (the more confidence displayed, the less successful they were). Perhaps it's best to paraphrase what one of the reviewers wrote: try and go through this film as if through a dream, through reality enhanced. Enhanced reality feels very much like the opposite, and this is the feel of the film. From the choice of colours to acting to ambivalence about identity, the result is as hypnotic as it's unsettling. The very simple story is told very plainly, but underlying is the intricacy of a nightmare. The discomfort feels like a single, stretched emotion. Something about this film works wonderfully, and as with the best of literature that narrates between the lines I wasn't always able to tell why (that went the same way for me with the spider-theme: it worked before I understood). The music is an inseparable part of the film. The film wouldn't have been the same with another soundtrack, a large part of what works in it isn't merely carried by it, but co-created. Pleasant also, albeit in a more common sense, to be finally able after quite some time to give a best vote for an achieved fusion of everything that makes a film for the viewer, unsettling, challenging and deeply rewarding. 10 out of 10 Theraphosae.
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1/10
Psychological allegory on Sir Walter Scott's famous lines
maysmithb23 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!" A depressed college professor knocks up his new girlfriend and has to untangle the double-life that he apparently doesn't know he's living because he's got split-personality disorder.

The main character is portrayed in the film as two different (but identical) people. He is a college professor with a girlfriend. He has developed a split personality due to depression with his mundane life. His new persona is a bit-part film actor with a fast motorcycle and a 6-months pregnant lover. Now he's got to figure out how to dump his old girlfriend. This movie is how his old self "discovers" his new self, how the new self confronts the old life and the physical fight for which persona (and which girlfriend) will "survive".

It's an artsy-psychological tale with sparse dialog and lots of confused hints of an actual plot. The unsatisfying surprise-ending seemed like a lame attempt to explain all of the "tangled web". I felt no empathy for the disturbed main character. I was emotionally un-invested and intellectually disappointed.
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4/10
Slow, brooding and unsuspenseful
brianberneker-121 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: This is not a spoiler but reveals key devices in the delivery of the story.

I really wanted to like this movie, but throughout this slow, brooding interpretation of what might have been a good novel, I kept thinking to myself "implausible implausibility." None of the characters reacted believably to most happenings, and the spider came across as a red herring to pass the buck onto the viewer to make sense of it all.

The score was elegantly composed but used in a manner that lacked suspense. The editing was slow and overused long tired close-ups as a substitute for revealing anything. My impression of the film was that it relied too heavily on pauses and silence rather than storytelling, and the parts that were most dramatic came across as a yawn.

If I had read the book and liked it, I would probably like this movie less for failing to represent it well.
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3/10
Based on Saramago's book? Come on! Really??
elisacazorla6 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I was looking forward to watching this movie once I knew it was based on a book by José Saramago. I read the book a few years ago and when I finished reading it I thought it would make a great movie. How disappointed! Saramago probably rolled over in his grave! The only thing that reminds the book is the duplicated man - that's all! Nothing else resembles the complexity and intensity of the book.

I liked the leading actor though. He was really good.

What was that with a stupid spider?? What about that Antony's "second hidden life"?? I had the feeling they wanted the viewers to think that they were actually the same person. Is that it? Was Antony supposed to be Adam's alter-ego?? That has absolutely nothing to do with Saramago's book.

If you, like me, want to watch this movie because you loved the book, just don't. You will probably be disappointed.
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1/10
The emperor has no clothes
sinisterene23 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Part of the reason I wasted my time with this movie was because of the good reviews. After watching it I could only reach the conclusion that all those good reviews exist because no one wants to "look dumb" for not "getting it" (not unlike most of David Lynch and Lars von Trier's corpus of work).

There are reviewers that will promise you some secret metaphorical meaning, but given that the movie is as utterly disappointing and unfulfilling as the "intelligent reviewers" are forthcoming with their promises, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Watch Synecdoche instead.
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1/10
Awful
fjohnson_9825 May 2018
This is an aimless movie centered around a contrived idea of two identical men. It goes nowhere. A complete waste of time. Dull, uninteresting. Unsatisfying.
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2/10
Tedious and disappointing
elphickbrett19 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
How I managed to get to the end of this movie, I don't know. A lot of people gave it a high rating - they belong to the pseudo intellectual crowd, probably influenced by the rackets that are postmodernism, post- structuralism and of course semiotics. People who know something about movies gave it a low rating - they are the 'call a spade a spade' crowd. The movie was slow, and the subject matter, well just boring. Why make a movie about a comfortable middle class professor and his trying to forget his past lover when there are so much more interesting things happening in the real world today. And the spider thing - yawn. It was just trying too hard to be something clever, but ended up saying very little. Give it a miss.
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1/10
Boring, slow, senseless movie
vickyriddle20 April 2014
This was a drab, slow, boring, colourless movie. I love a good thriller but found this totally disappointing and absolutely pointless. Annoyed with myself for sitting through this garbage and annoyed at having to pay good money to see it. Cannot understand why someone would make a movie like this and why Jake would have starred in it, I thought he was a much better actor to have to do rubbish like this. It could have been a good thriller if the story line was a little better and they made Jake a little more believable and personable. We as an audience have no idea why he was portrayed like this, maybe if it was explained somewhere we could get a better grip of what was going on.
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2/10
A waste of time
nadave100019 April 2014
This is the first review I write here on IMDb, this movie was bad enough to compel me to do it. After watching it I feel some responsibility to warn you from making the same mistake.

As the headline suggests, this movie is a waste of your time. Don't watch it.

There is very little story, barely any dialogue, not much at all happens during the 90 minutes of this bore-fest. The attempts to create a suspenseful atmosphere fails miserably despite the annoying, obvious music used to try and accomplish this goal. Music and poorly-lit rooms aren't enough, something interesting has to happen in the movie to create suspense.

I was watching to the end hoping for some kind of explanation or resolution to save this disappointment but sadly none came. The supposed "twist" that happens at the last 2 seconds of the movie is neither interesting nor exciting, you just watch it and go "ok whatever" and wish you had watched Donnie Darko again instead of this pile.

I love Gyllenhaal but he's far from enough to salvage this movie. Still he's the reason I'm giving the movie 2\10 Stay away, you've been warned.
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1/10
Seriously?
crosshatch15 June 2014
Sorry, but if you have to read a review to try and makes sense of a movie, then it is a waste of time. How anyone could give this movie more than a couple stars is beyond me.

Slow, boring, uninteresting. It left me saying, "WTF?"

I wasted an hour and a half of my life and will never get that back. Hopefully I can keep someone else from wasting their time. Acting was unbelievable. Acting was incongruent with the situations. The ridiculousness of the so-called symbolism was merely senseless. I am utterly speechless.

Really, REALLY bad.
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1/10
If you thought "Eyes wide shut was bad ........."
stuart-543-512620 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Initial half hour of watching created a reasonable level of anticipation and possibilities of where the film was going to go were certainly firing off in my imagination and my wetting my appetite to watch more.

However, the plot disintegrated very quickly (like over a cliff) and storyline melted into complete nothingness.

Imagery tries to create an air of surrealism but fails. How the hell Jake Gyllenhaal signed up for this one is beyond me? A real waste of time! And by the way, last scene of film attempts to re-create a Blair Witch type moment but makes me wished I had gone to watch that paint dry on my recently painted bedroom ceiling.
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