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Enemy (2013)

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A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.

Director:

Denis Villeneuve

Writers:

José Saramago (novel), Javier Gullón
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Popularity
1,002 ( 135)
17 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Adam + Anthony
Mélanie Laurent ... Mary
Sarah Gadon ... Helen
Isabella Rossellini ... Mother
Joshua Peace ... Teacher at School (as Josh Peace)
Tim Post ... Anthony's Concierge
Kedar Brown ... Security Guard
Darryl Dinn ... Video Store Clerk
Misha Highstead Misha Highstead ... Lady in the Dark Room
Megan Mane ... Lady in the Dark Room
Alexis Uiga Alexis Uiga ... Lady in the Dark Room
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Storyline

Adam Bell is a Toronto area History college professor. He is a rather somber man, largely because he is stuck in a routine, which includes a relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Mary. While watching a rental movie, he spots an actor in a bit part that looks like him. 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. Claire is a Toronto based actor with only a few on-screen credits, and is married to a woman named Helen who is currently several months pregnant. Adam then 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 outwardly is more "put together" than Adam. Their lives become intertwined as Claire himself ends up becoming obsessed with Adam, but in a slightly different way. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Director of Prisoners See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site

Country:

Canada | Spain | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

An Enemy See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,161, 14 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,007,088, 11 May 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The names of bellhops #1 and #2 that Adam searches for, Fraser Ash and Kevin Krikst, are the associate producers of the film. See more »

Goofs

When Helen changes the radio station at the beginning of ending scene, she actually rotates the volume slider, whereas the tune slider to change the station is on the right. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mother: [leaving a message] Hello, darling, it's your mother. Thank you for showing me your new apartment. I'm worried about you. I mean, how can you live like that? Anyway, would you call me back? Let's get together again. I love you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in IMDb Enemy: Behind the Scenes (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love
Performed by Jonathan Richman
Written by Jonathan Richman
Published by Rockin' Leprechaun Music
Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy of Vapor Records/Sanctuary Records Group Inc.,
under license from Universal Music Canada
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Smart and intriguing, but so resolutely oblique that it's hard to really care about how (oddly) it ends.
10 April 2014 | by shawneofthedeadSee all my reviews

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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