Enemy

2014

Enemy

Critics Consensus

Thanks to a strong performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and smart direction from Denis Villeneuve, Enemy hits the mark as a tense, uncommonly adventurous thriller.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 118

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 26,058
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Movie Info

Academy Award Nominee Jake Gyllenhaal reteams with his PRISONERS director, Academy Award Nominee Denis Villeneuve, in this sexy and hypnotically surreal psychological thriller that breathes new life into the doppleganger tradition. Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal) is a glum, disheveled history professor, who seems disinterested even in his beautiful girlfriend, Mary (Laurent). Watching a movie on the recommendation of a colleague, Adam spots his double, a bit-part actor named Anthony Clair, and decides to track him down. The identical men meet and their lives become bizarrely and irrevocably intertwined. Gyllenhaal is transfixing as both Adam and Anthony, provoking empathy as well as disapproval while embodying two distinct personas. With masterfully controlled attention to detail, Villeneuve takes us on an enigmatic and gripping journey through a world that is both familiar and strange - and hard to shake off long after its final, unnerving image. ENEMY, adapted from Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago's 2004 novel The Double, is about the power of the subconscious. In the end, only one man can survive. (c) A24 Films

Cast

Jake Gyllenhaal
as Adam / Anthony
Joshua Peace
as Teacher at School
Tim Post
as Anthony's Concierge
Kedar Brown
as Security Guard
Misha Highstead
as Lady in the Dark Room
Megan Mane
as Lady in the Dark Room
Darryl Dinn
as Video Store Clerk
Alexis Uiga
as Lady in the Dark Room
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News & Interviews for Enemy

Critic Reviews for Enemy

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (84) | Rotten (34)

Audience Reviews for Enemy

  • Mar 27, 2017
    As evidenced by the critical and commercial success of last year's "Arrival", director Denis Villeneuve has firmly established himself as one of the most talented filmmakers of this century. All of his films tend to run along the edge of sanity, but "Enemy" is by far his most abstract and stylistically striking. The term "mind-fuck" is often tossed around in conversations among adolescent males who find movies like "Fight Club", "Inception", or "The Sixth Sense" to be "deep" because there's an unexpected twist in their perceptions of characters or events. Far from the convoluted, fruitless mental gymnastics of Nolan or the bone-headed third act twist of Shyamalan, Villeneuve managed to craft in "Enemy" a delicious pretzel of twisting, layered concepts that I would say qualifies as a proper mind-fuck. Also, the film sets itself apart because of a pronounced ambiguity regarding what is real and what is not. I'm not going to dissect and draw up a conspiracy theory web for you with a definitive explanation of the film as that would take forever and be completely presumptuous. Each scene is integral to understanding the film, but Villeneuve admits that the open-ended nature of the movie is by design. Obviously there is a lot to unpack, so I will just hit the highlights. A key theme of the film is that of individualism. Jake Gyllenhaal presumes himself to be an individual (and so do we, as he is the protagonist). As he points out in his class repeatedly, totalitarian regimes "would censor any means of individual expression...and this is a pattern that repeats itself." Subject to the events of the film, Gyllenhaal's character Adam Bell is confronted with the possibility that he is NOT an individual when he encounters Anthony Claire, a man that resembles him in every aspect except mannerisms and attitude. Is this doppelganger a clone? A twin? Or is it his future or past self? Due to numerous subtle hints (the blueberries, the scar, the erotic key club, etc.) throughout the movie, a strong case could be made for or against the two men being the same. In light of this ambiguity, the crisis of his identity almost serves as a Macguffin. We can only deduce that Jake Gyllenhaal is an enemy to his doppelganger if they are two people, or he is his own worst enemy if he is just experiencing some psychological fugue state. The nice thing is that you don't need realism to "get" the film. The surreal spider imagery is a recurring theme that takes us to the next layer of meaning. Some have suggested that the spider motif is Bell/Claire's perception of the women in his life - his wife, his mother, and his mistress. That is a strong point as female spiders tend to ingest their mates. But I think it goes beyond a gender study. One of the most memorable and important images is the giant spider walking through the foggy Toronto skyline. The spider represents control. It creeps along the stage at the erotic show when he is quietly subjecting the model to his gaze. It passes him by in the hallway of his dream before he meets his other self at the hotel, soon to be subjected to his darker half's manipulation. It looms over Toronto because Bell/Claire is a microcosm of society. And his wife becomes one in the final scene because he fears the prospect of settling down, being monogamous, being controlled, and she knows he is still capable of being wayward when he should be becoming a responsible parent. We are enemies to ourselves, individually and as a society. After that, I can merely speculate that as a meta-narrative, Villeneuve funnels our perceptions as a means of controlling our thoughts. If the protagonist is a reflection of the director, perhaps he feels some amount of guilt in facilitating or being subjected to totalitarianism by distracting us with the film. After all, the only foray into the full color spectrum is the lighthearted film within the film "Where There's a Will There's a Way". But that movie is a false reality. The oppressive sepia of "Enemy" has a sickly, dream-like atmosphere, but it's much more true to life than what looks to be a carefree and colorful romantic comedy. It's a tricky thing, the subconscious, and the enriching joy of this film is that one can engage with its many shades of meaning from different perspectives and achieve different results.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2017
    Much like with Arrival, Villenueve refuses to spoon feed the audience and so leaves you to make up your own mind about what's going on. Your enjoyment of the film will depend on this factor.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 12, 2016
    Excellently acted and filmed mystery thriller about a man who discovers an actor looks exactly like him. The film does a lot of things right in the unraveling of this premise, albeit dodging a few questions that should most certainly arise. That's pretty interesting and exciting to follow, as long as you prepare yourself for not really getting an ultimate answer. Of course in the end the film has to be artsy for being artsy's sake. I wasn't even that mad, though, because the road there was fun.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2015
    Bafflingly brilliant in every way, "Enemy" marks a career high for Jake Gyllenhaal, as he portrays the characters of Adam and Anthony. After seeing a film, he notices someone who looks just like him. He then looks into this actors career and notices two other films as well. After viewing his films, he decides to contact him to meet up. The confrontation is very well-handled and the climax of the film after everything begins to tie together, twists the entire story around, making you feel upset and happy all at once. By the time the credits roll you will have been through an entire universe of emotions, and although the ending may not completely make sense upon first viewing, you can tell the filmmakers meant something profound with it, and for that, I loved it. Every second of this picture, from the camerawork, to the acting, to the screenplay (slim I might add), is breathtaking. "Enemy" is one of my favourite films in this genre for sure, but it is not for everyone, especially for casual moviegoers. I loved every second of this artistic film. "Enemy" is brilliant!
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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