• James Rutherford

'Enemy': A Hypnotic Psychological Thriller About a Man Searching Out His Own Doppelgänger


Movie poster for the film Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Sarah Gadon

"Enemy" (2013) is a bewitching and surrealistic thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam Bell, an unassuming young history professor based in Toronto. Renting a film one evening on the recommendation of a colleague, Adam spots an unknown actor on screen who appears to be his exact double—a revelation that prompts him to seek out the mysterious young performer.


Identifying his apparent double as Anthony Claire and stalking Claire from his agent's office to his suburban home, Bell makes contact with Claire's pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon) who is baffled by this stranger's incursion—motivating her to to track him down at the university. Their confrontation leads to an agreement between Bell and Claire to meet in person, a rendezvous that finds them face-to-face in a dark hotel room—a beguiling encounter that sets the stage for an elaborate tale of intrigue and duplicity.


Loosely based on the novel "The Double" by Portuguese author José Saramago and directed by the eminent Denis Villeneuve ("Incendies", "Blade Runner 2049"), "Enemy" is a hypnotic plunge into a realm of dark deception. Gyllenhaal is pitch-perfect in his dual role, as two men of identical appearance who diverge dramatically in terms of temperament and intention. Now famous for it's haunting and perplexing final shot, it's a heady, engrossing affair that ultimately serves as a tantalizing depiction of totalitarianism and its inextricable ties to the very foundation of human nature.

 

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