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Film / Enemy

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Enemy is an eerie 2013 thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It is based on the novel The Double by Jose Saramago, and chiefly concerns a history professor named Adam Bell whose normal, quiet life takes a very strange turn after he watches a film featuring an actor who is also an exact double of him and tracks the man down. A film with a very similar premise, The Double, was released the same year, a black comedy based on another novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky of the same name.


This series provides examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: Due to the ambiguous nature of the story, it's not clear whether the events are happening in the order we see them. This holds particularly true if Adam and Anthony are indeed the same person. Sequences that cut back and forth between them might not be happening concurrently as the editing implies.
  • Animal Motifs: Spiders. All over the place.
  • Bed Trick: Adam and Anthony both impersonate each other, thus winding up having sex with the other's girlfriend/wife respectively.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Happens repeatedly, which isn't surprising when one sees what scary crap the protagonist is dreaming.
  • Fan Disservice: In one of Adam's dreams he walks along a corridor and passes a naked, well-built woman that's approaching from the opposite direction. What sounds titillating in theory is actually anything but because that woman is walking on the ceiling and has a spider's face instead of a human's. Unsurprisingly, Adam suffers a less than pleasant awakening.
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  • Gainax Ending: Adam staring resignedly at a room-sized tarantula that has seemingly taken the place of Helen.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Although implications are plentiful, it's never made clear why Adam and Anthony look identical.
  • Mind Screw: What the entire movie amounts to.
  • No Ending: Adam walks into Helen's room and finds that she has been replaced by a massive spider. He stares at her for a few seconds, then sighs. Cut to black.
  • Retraux: Where There's A Will, There's A Way has the visual style of a film from the 1960s, and appears to be set around that time as well. This is despite Anthony appearing in it.
  • Rule 34: The sex show that Adam (or Anthony) attends at the beginning of the film includes a woman in high heels about to step on a tarantula. This is a real fetish, called "crush."
  • Separated at Birth: Discussed as one possibility for Adam and Anthony's being doubles. Both Adam and Anthony's mother deny it, however (they also possess the same scar, something identical twins would not have, unless synchronization is in play).
  • Show Within a Show: Where There's A Will, There's A Way.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Spiders are a recurring theme, including the tarantulas in the beginning, the gigantic spider striding through a cityscape in a dream, a woman with the head of a spider in another dream, and the enormous tarantula that replaces Helen in the end.
    • In the penultimate scene, we're treated to a slow zoom on the window of Anthony and Mary's crashed car, cracked in a distinct spider-web pattern.
  • Spot the Imposter: Anthony's wife suspects briefly that Adam isn't her husband, but dismisses it, though it's implied she might actually recognize him after all, and simply prefers him to her increasingly unstable and serial cheater husband. Adam's girlfriend, meanwhile, realizes who Anthony is. This leads to both of their deaths.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: One popular interpretation of the film is that it takes place mostly in Adam's head, with Anthony being a symptom of his delusions.
  • The Un-Reveal: The exact reason for Adam and Anthony's being doubles is never explained.