Enemy (2013): I Waited For An Answer and I Got a Spider Instead

Note: Major spoilers ahead!

I did not realize the entire movie was going to be in a sepia filter.

Also this was a huge leap because I last saw Jake Gyllenhall in Donnie Darko a couple of weeks ago and he was, like, practically a kid even if he was still older than me. But now he’s a lot older than me.

The sickly yellow hue of everything throughout the movie was a little disconcerting at first, but I can’t deny that it certainly added a unique feel to it. It felt…muffled. Like everything was distant, but suffocating.

Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Adam Bell, a seemingly boring history professor who finds his doppelganger in a small role in a movie recommended to him by his colleague.

So Adam decides it was a good idea to try to find and contact his look-alike. Using the internet, he finds out that this Anthony Claire only has three movies, all with very small roles.

Now, the rest of this post is going to be written assuming you, the reader, have seen the movie. If you, the reader, have not and had decided to continue reading even though there was a note warning you of spoilers, you may want to watch the movie first. Or you can just continue and be confused.

With that out of the way, let’s jump to the very end. Anthony and Mary have just gotten into that assumably fatal car crash and Adam is still under the “pretense” of being Anthony. He goes to see if Helen needs any help, and instead of seeing his pregnant “wife,” he sees a giant spider on the wall.

Instead of Helen, he sees this big-ass spider on the wall. And he’s not shocked at all. Interestingly, his face is almost…amused. You can’t see it in this shot, but it is.

I’m not gonna lie. I have no idea what that means. It didn’t answer any of my questions.

My first thought was that it meant Helen never existed. She wasn’t real.

But then I have no other evidence to convince myself of that. Because if she wasn’t real, then what was the meaning of her meeting with Adam by the university? What is the significance of her pregnancy? I have no clue.

Second thought: okay, then, giant spider, so there has to be some metaphorical meaning behind it. Adam and Anthony are the same person. Different facets of personalities, but the same person. This explains the identical appearances of them, including a scar on their stomach. Adam’s meeting with his mother also shows that point. She tells Adam to stop dreaming of “becoming a third-rate actor” or something like that.

My theory is that Adam is tired of being the history professor with only a classroom half full of bored students. He’s tired of talking about ancient Rome and the totalitarian government that tried to distract its citizens with “bread and circuses.”

And, thus, Anthony, the cooler guy who rides a motorcycle and wears leather jackets and is in acting, is born. He seems more confident, his relationship with his wife seems more fulfilling than Adam’s practically silent relationship with Mary, and he goes to this really dark, weird sex club where naked women step on spiders.

This is Anthony, looking much cooler than Adam, who always wears the typical history professor jacket.

The spider at the ending is showing how Adam is preparing step completely into Anthony’s life after he got rid of Mary, who presumably did not survive the car crash. The spider is a metaphor for Anthony, or Anthony’s life, or the facet of Adam’s personality that is Anthony.

There are a lot of holes in this theory of mine and it may not even be remotely correct, but those are my ideas for Enemy, who, by the way, is probably Anthony or even Adam himself. Or both, if you want to go with my “theory.”

Conclusion: Enemy manages to captivate the audience in an intriguing and mysterious plot as Jake Gyllenhaal excellently portrays two identical yet completely different people. The ambiguous ending serves to show the artistry and purpose of the director (Denis Villeneuve), but only manages to provide the audience with no answers and a head full of confused thoughts. Bonus points for the director because I see that the spider is on purpose and holds some meaning, but I just don’t get it. 6/10. 

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