A three-time winner of the Genie Award, Denis Villeneuve came to international attention with the Academy Award nominated film ‘Incendies’ and later with the Jackman-Gyllenhaal starrer ‘Prisoners’. His style and approach to filmmaking is very different; his canvas is rich, and his films explore dark themes, plunging into the depths of the subconscious. His most recent directorial outing – ‘Enemy’ is perhaps one of the most unnerving movies made in recent times. A film which warrants a second and a third watch just to get a grip of the theme, and the ending would still leave the viewer guessing. On the first watch, one would marvel at the textural complexity of the movie and deftness of direction. But these things soon take a backseat when the narrative comes into play.
The first scene is bewildering to say the least: A man attends an erotic show and witnesses a woman about to crush a spider – a live tarantula – with her feet. The scene shifts and a pregnant woman is shown sitting in her bed. The spider shown in the first scene can be construed as a motif too (I will get to that later).
Adam Bell, a History Professor rents a movie “Where There is a Will There is a Way”. He notices a character in the movie who looks exactly like himself. He goes on to investigate into this and soon comes to know that the doppelgänger is an actor named Daniel St. Claire, a stage name for Anthony Claire.
Adam becomes obsessed over Anthony and arranges a meeting with him. He visits his office and calls him at home, inviting further suspicion from the actor’s pregnant wife. Adam’s change in behavior irks his girlfriend Mary. Soon, both Adam and Anthony meet up in a hotel room and Adam becomes convinced that Anthony is his identical copy. He becomes further convinced when Anthony shows him the scar over his left abdomen.
Things get really confusing when Anthony confronts Adam and accuses him of having a sexual relationship with his wife. He demands the keys to his house so that he can have a similar liaison with Mary. Strangely, Adam obliges and gives him the keys. He later goes to Anthony’s home and gets into bed with his wife, who realizes Adam is not her partner. Mary confronts Anthony when she sees the mark of a wedding ring on his finger. An argument ensues and she forces Anthony to take her home. They get into a fight while Anthony is driving and the car crashes.