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Released in 2013
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
TL;DR – A subversive character drama that kept me speculating and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Very surreal and, at times, I thought I was watching a Lars Von Trier or Coppola film. 10/10
MAY DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS***
It’s really not possible to talk about “Enemy” in any sort of depth without spoiling things so if you haven’t seen it but really want, stop reading and go watch it. It’s on Amazon. As for the rest of you, proceed at your own risk.
“Enemy” is the most unique Romantic Drama film I have ever seen. It’s about a timid, introverted college professor named Adam who has a pretty girlfriend, a small apartment and seemingly a need for more in his life. The film starts with what appears to be some sort of sex party, Ala’ “Eyes Wide Shut” with Adam staring in to the distance rather than what’s happening right in front of him. We see a tarantula walk in to the frame, crawling towards a woman’s high-heeled-foot.
This appears to be a dream, because the next scene is him waking up startled in his own bed. We see a lot of spiders throughout this film, so be warned.
During a lecture, Adam discusses with his class different dictatorships and how they would censor their citizens which would cause and uprise. Then the uprise would become the dictatorship, wash, rinse, repeat. Repeating patterns.
On the recommendation of a colleague, Adam rents a movie called “Where there’s a will there’s a way” and notices a character that looks exactly like him. He is perturbed but casually investigates on his laptop, seeking out pictures, other roles and finally a name. He comes obsessed with Daniel Saint Claire, tracking down his representation, calling him, stalking him. Daniel, who’s real name is Anthony Claire, seems to have some secret past and a has a hard time with fidelity. He has a great apartment, a supportive family and a beautiful, pregnant wife, who becomes weary of the obsessive Adam and starts to investigate him on her own.
Eventually Adam and Anthony meet, there’s some shock around how identical they look and Anthony suggest that maybe they were siamese twins, because he has a scar on his abdomen. Adam gets upset and starts mumbling prompting Anthony to take advantage of Adam’s timidness and “takes out” Adam’s girlfriend in a surprising and upsetting plot-twist for me – a “girlfriend swap” of sorts.
Both girls figure it out and Anthony crashes Adam’s car, which I assume kills his girlfriend.
Now, what I said earlier about “Enemy” being a romantic drama film comes in to play here. Adam and Anthony are the same person. The film is simply edited in a non-chronological order. Anthony being a successful actor, married to a beautiful woman, taking out another woman and crashing the car is the 1st act of the film. After the crash he becomes Adam, a timid, anti-social shut-in who has a fear of commitment. “Anthony” was cheating on his pregnant wife with “Adam’s” girlfriend, which would explain some of the dialogue exchanged between the two of them early on. The confrontation between “Anthony” and “Adam” took place in “Adam’s” head, at least as far as the conversation goes, he simply can’t deal with what he’s been through.
It’s like “Fight Club” without the fight club.
There’s a lot of surreal imagery and unusual usage of camera movement and angles in this film, and it makes for a “closed in” nauseating feel for the majority of it. It’s very contrasty and yellow, the soundtrack matches with a very slow lull, almost drone-like at times punctuated by orchestral music. The spiders, who almost always appear after Adam has a conversation or interaction with a woman represent his fear of commitment, because spiders tend to kill and eat their mates. At one point we see a towering spider over the city he resides in, which is Toronto.
“Enemy” is a fantastic, surrealist take on a movie of any genre. If this film had been edited in chronological order it would have been an average, run of the mill romantic drama. What clever editing gives us a paranoid, disturbing tale of love, loss and obsession unlike anything I have ever seen before. Go watch it now!