Enemy (2013 film)

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Enemy poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDenis Villeneuve
Produced by
Screenplay byJavier Gullón
Based onThe Double
by José Saramago
Music by
  • Daniel Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
CinematographyNicolas Bolduc
Edited byMatthew Hannam
Distributed by
  • Entertainment One (Canada)
  • Alfa Pictures (Spain)
Release date
  • 8 September 2013 (2013-09-08) (TIFF)
  • 14 March 2014 (2014-03-14) (Canada)
  • 28 March 2014 (2014-03-28) (Spain)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
  • Canada
  • Spain
Box office$3.4 million[2][3]

Enemy is a 2013 psychological thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve, produced by M. A. Faura and Niv Fichman and written by Javier Gullón, loosely adapted from José Saramago's 2002 novel The Double.[4] The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role as two men who are physically identical, but different in personality. Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, and Isabella Rossellini co-star. It is internationally co-produced by production companies from Spain and Canada.

The film premiered in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2013.[5] It was then released on March 14, 2014, by A24. It earned $3.4 million at the box office and received positive reviews. The film earned five Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Director for Villeneuve,[6] as well as a Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Gadon and Best Motion Picture.[7] It was named Best Canadian Film of the Year at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2014.[8]


A man attends an erotic show featuring a man and a woman, at an underground club, which culminates with the woman naked and on the verge of crushing a live tarantula under her platform high-heel.

Adam Bell, a college history professor, lives a quiet, monotonous life. He rents a movie, Where There's a Will There's a Way, on the recommendation of a colleague, and spots an actor — who looks strikingly like himself — briefly in the film as a bellhop. Searching online, Adam identifies the actor as Daniel Saint Claire, the stage name of Anthony Claire. Adam rents the other two films in which Anthony has appeared and becomes obsessed with the man, who appears to be his physical doppelgänger. Immediately after this, Adam searches some boxes in his own house and finds a photo of someone who looks like himself, with some woman's hand over his shoulder. However, part of the photo is torn out, making the woman impossible to identify.

Adam stalks Anthony, visiting his agency and even calling him at home. They eventually agree to meet in a hotel room and discover they are perfectly identical, even having the same identical scar. Adam is taken aback by Anthony's direct personality and how exactly alike they are in appearance; feeling uneasy and uncomfortable by this he leaves abruptly. The next day, Anthony follows Adam and sees Adam's girlfriend Mary, whom he finds attractive. He starts following her to work without being noticed. Anthony plots to accuse Adam of having sexual relations with Anthony's wife Helen so that he, Anthony, can take his place with Mary over the weekend and sleep with her. Anthony demands Adam's clothes and car keys in order to get things even by taking out Mary for a romantic weekend getaway, promising to disappear forever afterward. Adam complies, and Anthony takes Mary to the hotel after work. Meanwhile, Adam in retaliation goes to Anthony's apartment and is immediately recognized by the apartment concierge, who lets him in without the keys but also desperately asks if 'Anthony' could take him back to the underground sex club again. Inside the apartment, Adam finds a framed photo on a shelf, which looks like the one he had found earlier in his own house, but now the photo is intact, and the woman is revealed to be Helen. Adam is trying to adjust as Anthony in front of Helen but she doesn't appear to notice the subtle differences or his shy behavior and asks him to join her in bed. She cuddles up to him and to his surprise asks, "did you have a good day at school". Later that night, Helen finds Adam in the living room crying and apologizing to her; she asks him to stay and they make love.

Back at the hotel, Mary panics during sex when she notices Anthony's marriage-ring mark and asks who he really is. She forces Anthony to drive her home; the two get into a fight in the car which results in a high-speed crash and the car being totaled, the passengers presumably both dead.

The next day, Adam dresses in Anthony's clothes and opens the confidential letter received earlier from the agency and finds the underground-club key, given only to select members. Helen gets out of the shower and tells him to call his mother, then enters the bedroom. Adam asks Helen if she is doing anything that night and tells her that he's going out, but she doesn't respond. As he enters the bedroom, he beholds instead of Helen the now room-sized tarantula cowered against the rear wall. Adam, with a resigned look, sighs.


  • Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam Bell / Anthony Claire
  • Mélanie Laurent as Mary
  • Sarah Gadon as Helen Claire
  • Isabella Rossellini as Mother
  • Kedar Brown as a security guard
  • Darryl Dinn as the video store clerk
  • Joshua Peace as Carl, Adam's colleague
  • Tim Post as Anthony's concierge
  • Misha Highstead, Megan Mane, Alexis Uiga as the Ladies in the Dark Room
  • Jane Moffat as Eve (uncredited)
  • Stephen R. Hart as Bouncer (uncredited)


Principal photography began on May 22, 2012 in Toronto.[9]


Maman (Mother), Louise Bourgeois' sculpture at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Film critic Chris Stuckmann suggests the spider motif in Enemy represents the lead character's view of women.[10]

A review in Indiewire compared the film to Christopher Nolan's Memento, and called it an "engrossing Kafka-eque[sic] provocative psychological thriller" that "doesn't reveal itself easily".[11] Both director Villeneuve and leading actor Gyllenhaal spoke of their desire to make the film a challenging exploration of the subconscious.[12][13][14] To Villeneuve, Enemy is ultimately about repetition: the question of how to live and learn without repeating the same mistakes.[12]

Regarding the two physically identical characters: "You don't know if they are two in reality, or maybe from a subconscious point of view, there's just one," said Villeneuve. "It's maybe two sides of the same persona … or a fantastic event where you see another [self]."[12] Gyllenhaal says that Enemy is "about a man who is married, his wife is pregnant, and he’s having an affair. He has to figure himself out before he can commit to life as an adult."[13]

Forrest Wickman of Slate points out that the opening line of the film, "Chaos is order yet undeciphered" is from a line from José Saramago's The Double, the novel on which the film is based. Wickman suggests that Enemy is "a parable about what it's like to live under a totalitarian state without knowing it," and adds that the central irony is that even though the main character is an expert on the ways of totalitarian governments, he does not see the web that has overtaken the city until he is already stuck in it. To Wickman, Enemy suggests that this tendency to create totalitarian regimes is part of human nature, that it comes from within us;[15] he cites Villeneuve's comment: "Sometimes you have compulsions that you can't control coming from the subconscious … they are the dictator inside ourselves."[15]


Enemy received generally positive reviews from critics, with many critics comparing the movie's style and atmosphere favorably to the works of David Lynch. It has a 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 111 reviews, and a rating average of 6.7 out of 10. The site's consensus states: "Thanks to a strong performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and smart direction from Denis Villeneuve, Enemy hits the mark as a tense, uncommonly adventurous thriller."[16] The film also has a score of 61 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 26 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17] A. O. Scott, movie critic for The New York Times, wrote: "In any case, much of the fun in "Enemy," which is tightly constructed and expertly shot, lies in Mr. Gyllenhaal’s playful and subtle performances… Its style is alluring and lurid, a study in hushed tones and yellowy hues, with jolts of anxiety provided by loud, scary music."[18] Enemy was also praised by David Ehrlich of Film.com for having "the scariest ending of any film ever made."[19]

Enemy opened in a single theater in North America and grossed $16,161, later expanding, with the widest release for the film being 120 theaters. It ended up earning $1,008,726 domestically and $2,388,721 internationally for a total of $3,397,447.[2]


  1. ^ "Enemy (2013)". IMDb. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Enemy (2014) - Box Office Mojo". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Enemy (2014) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini join Jake Gyllenhaal on An Enemy". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Enemy". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Enemy - Review". Canadian Film Review. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards: Orphan Black, Less Than Kind, Enemy nominated". CBC News. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Denis Villeneuve's Enemy is Toronto Film Critics' top Canadian pick". CBC News. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini join Jake Gyllenhaal on An Enemy". Screen International. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  10. ^ Chris Stuckmann, Enemy explained, YouTube, April 24, 2014. Accessed February 25 2017.
  11. ^ Review: Denis Villeneuve's Terrifically Haunting 'Enemy' Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist, Indiewire, 13 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Hilary Lewis (13 March 2014). "'Enemy' Director on Jake Gyllenhaal's Identical Characters: 'It's Maybe Two Sides of the Same Persona'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b Jamie Graham (2 January 2015). "Jake Gyllenhaal interview: The Enemy star on why he is so committed to complicated characters". The Independent. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  14. ^ Interview: Jake Gyllenhaal Talks The Duality Of 'Enemy' And Why He Wants You To Be Confused, Alex Suskind, The Playlist, Indiewire, 11 March 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b "What Should We Make of Enemy's Shocking Ending?". Slate. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Enemy (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Enemy Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  18. ^ "When Your Twin Is Far More Interesting". New York Times. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  19. ^ David Ehrlich (13 September 2013). "TIFF Review: 'Enemy'". MTV. Retrieved 24 May 2018.

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