WTF: Enemy (2013)

Enemy 10 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

Enemy 01 poster (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

Spoiler Alert:

I shall be covering Enemy, checking up on its background, studying its motivations and attacking its positions to determine if it’s worth pursuing or poorly executed. So read on only if you’ve already seen Enemy, or don’t plan to.

Watch Enemy here

Enemy 02 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“When I said I wanted change, this isn’t what I meant.”

Synopsis: This film is the story of a sex-crazed bloke who gives up his mistress and dream of becoming an actor in order to teach school and be a better husband to his pregnant wife. If anyone tries to tell you differently, tell them to come here. A lot. With their friends. I need the hits.

0:01:48 Al K Hall nudity alert: A pregnant woman (whom we will learn is his wife, Sarah Gadon as Helen) is sitting naked on a bed. This scene is placed at the beginning so non-intellectuals have a reason to stay.

0:02:17 Jake Gyllenhaal looking shorter than I thought and hairier than I remember.

Enemy 03 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
A Hard Hobbit to Break

0:04:52 Anthony (Jake Gyllenhaal plays two people – Anthony the actor and Adam the history teacher – who are the same person) uses a key to enter a room full of old and ugly men who are watching a woman masturbate on stage (Al K Hall nudity alert @ 0:02:51). Another woman brings out a serving tray with a dome and a huge spider crawls out after she takes off the top (both the one on the tray and the one on her body).

Enemy 04 Spider Heels GIF (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Heel me

[Explanation: This spider represents ‘good/serious’ women, which is why a stripper is killing it with her high heel.]

0:06:14 Adam is a professor. He’s a good teacher – if  he’s teaching boredom.

0:07:48 Adam’s girlfriend is called Mary (Mélanie Laurent). She’s the woman he left his wife (Helen) for, six months ago, before he knew his wife was pregnant. Good times, even better timing.

0:11:48 He rents a DVD? What century is this film set in?

Enemy 05 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
First visit to the Pre-Torrent Museum

0:15:08 WTF!? Mary asks him to come to bed but he stays up to watch the DVD and then leaps into bed and begins intercoursing Mary while she’s asleep until she makes him stop. This may be a first for a French woman.

0:16:22 Adam is dreaming of being in the movies. Literally.

0:17:32 He awakes from this dream and goes back to the DVD, fast forwarding until he finds a bellboy who is his doppelgänger, except better looking.

0:20:18 He finds himself on-line. Literally, not religiously.

Enemy 06 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
You Porn

[Explanation: Professor Adam suffers from a split personality and does not remember the period where he left his wife, moved into his empty apartment and stopped trying to become an actor.]

0:24:08 WTF!? Why is Adam afraid to visit the talent agency Anthony (his look-alike) works out of? And why must he wear sunglasses Zach Galifianakis would have looked comfortable wearing in The Hangover?

Enemy 07 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Pimp my face

[Note: While at the agency, Adam picks up an envelope for Anthony; this will be important at the end of the film.]

0:29:44 After finding out where Daniel Saint Claire (Anthony’s stage name) lives, he calls the flat and a woman answers who is convinced our chap is her husband. (His voice isn’t wearing sunglasses.) It sounds like him because it is him, only he doesn’t know it.

0:32:08 He calls the number again and is happily surprised when a man answers and has “exactly the same voice” as his. Some people talk to themselves, I prefer to leave myself messages.

0:33:42 Anthony is telling his wife that Adam is a stalker, not another woman. Little does he know it’s not a stalker, but it is his better half.

Enemy 09 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Very pedestrian

[Explanation: Proof that Adam/Anthony is the same person is how seriously both Anthony and Helen think the situation is. Normally, if you were to meet your look-alike, there’d be jovial interest, not sheer panic.]

0:34:42

Helen: Are you seeing her?

Anthony: Helen, I don’t want to get into this.

Helen: Are you seeing her again?

The very pregnant wife is suspicious and accuses the actor of returning to his mistress. She doesn’t believe him, and we see why he failed as an actor when he tries to convince her otherwise.

0:40:37 Helen goes to the university to see Adam for herself. She’s sad because she didn’t order a double.

Enemy 08 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Who you doin’?”

0:42:17 After Adam doesn’t recognize her during a conversation, she conveniently waits for him to exit the shot before calling Anthony. Helen never sees both men – Anthony and Adam – together, because they’re the same bloke.

0:44:34

Are you OK?

WTF!? He’s been watching his wife sob for over four hours and finally, in the middle of the night, he asks her this!? Next time he’ll be asking dead people at funeral viewings, “A little under the weather?”

0:45:48 Al K Hall nudity alert: One of the Jake Gyllenhaals has a nightmare of a naked woman with a spider head walking upside down. Still not as weird as the people on the bus after 11pm.

Enemy 09 Spider woman GIF (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Her looks bug me

[Explanation: This spider woman represents whores / mistresses. #bewbs] 

0:47:18 Adam goes to his appointment to meet Anthony at a small, out-of-the-way hotel. This strikes me as unusual, as I don’t meet strangers in hotels simply because we bear a striking resemblance. Why I do meet strangers in hotels cannot be discussed on the open Internet.

[Explanation: Adam and Anthony are only shown together when they’re alone – no other character ever sees both of them in the same place because they are, in fact, the same chap.]

0:49:36

I told you.

Adam to Anthony when Anthony realizes how similar they look. The mood is not one of surprise, but rather of ‘why are we doing this in the dark with the curtains drawn?’

Enemy 10 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
The great semen hunt

0:52:34 The chaps discover they not only resemble each other, but also have the same scars. This disturbs the professor enough that he pulls out. Of the situation.

0:53:31 Anthony’s motorcycle was parked beside the teacher’s car, and now pulls along beside him on the motorway. Scenes in which the men meet are all in Jake’s head.

0:56:34 Anthony follows Mary (Adam’s mistress). He gets in the same bus as she does, even if neither of them is poor.

0:59:46 Adam tells his troubles to his mum (Isabella Rossellini). I wish I could do this (tell my troubles to Isabella Rossellini, though my mum is a lovely bloke).

Enemy 11 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Oh mom, you’re my favourite MILF.”

1:00:54 His mum talks to Adam about blueberries, his empty flat and tells him to give up his fantasy of becoming a third-rate movie actor, proving once more that Adam and Anthony are one in the same man.

1:01:06 Speaking of cobwebs in his mind, he’s dreaming the giant spider in the city scene from the poster. There are a lot of spiders in this film. Must be symbolic of something, like how this film bugs me.

Enemy 12 City-wide infestation (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
City wide infestation

[Explanation: This spider represents mothers, as its design is based on a statue called ‘Maman’ (‘Mother’ in French), by Louise Bourgeois.]

Maman
Maman, by Louise Bourgeois

1:04:44 Anthony suspects that Adam slept with Helen, so he confronts Adam thusly:

You brought my wife into this, man, so I’m going to bring your girlfriend into the picture, as well. You want me out of your life? This is what’s going to happen first. You’re going to give me your clothes and your car, I’m going to take your girlfriend on a little romantic getaway. I’m going to bring her back home tomorrow, and then I’m going to come back here and I’m going to bring back all your stuff and I’m going to disappear from your life forever. Then we will be even.

In a world where ‘even’ signifies ‘stupid’.

Enemy 13 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Jake Gyllenhaal plays with himself, then beats himself up over it

1:08:56 The doorman of Anthony’s tower block lets Adam into the building and escorts him to Anthony’s flat, thinking he’s Anthony. In the lift, he prattles on about how he enjoyed “the other night”, leading us to believe he accompanied Anthony to the naked lady spider show. He also says he’d like Anthony to invite him back, as the locks there are changed after each show. The doorman has a lot of keys, except the one he wants. Ironic much?

1:14:34 Al K Hall nudity alert: Quick view of pregnant woman’s milk sacks. The baby bump is almost certainly false. Al K Hall is still deliberating on the milk sacks.

1:19:05 Either there’s a mistake in the editing continuity or the pregnant wife magically put on a bra under her shirt so fast the camera wasn’t able to get it. Like a lot of things in this film.

Enemy 14 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Do my breasts look bigger to you, Helen?”

1:19:14

Did you have a good day at school?

Helen lets Adam know she knows it’s him and then goes to sleep, like the rest of us.

[Explanation: Adam has returned to his wife.]

1:19:47 Al K Hall nudity alert: Mélanie Laurent hasn’t the same qualms about intercoursing with a clone.

Enemy 15 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Hey, my penis is down there.”

[Explanation: Adam is imagining this scene, and it symbolizes his breakup with Mary (she notices the imprint of a wedding ring on his finger).]

1:20:04 Mary jumps out of bed because in the heat of passion she was analysing Anthony’s finger and saw the band from where the ring had been worn, meaning Adam has returned to his wife. That said, if you find yourself wondering what the your partner’s fingers look like, the sex can’t be that great.

1:22:37 Helen seduces Adam, her good old husband. Fact: 97.4% of women will always cheat on their husband if it can be with their husband.

1:22:44 Anthony crashes the car he’s in with Mary, as she wanted to be driven home. What does it say about a film when the accidents are the most believable scenes?

1:24:11 The next morning, the radio reports on the accident and Adam is safe and sound in Anthony’s skin.

Enemy 16 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Who’s hotter? Me or the guy in the mirror?”

[Explanation: This accident never really happened, it’s simply a fantasy Adam has constructed to symbolize the fact he left Mary to return to his wife. Mary’s dead to him.]

1:25:16 In the envelope Adam had picked up for (24:08) and then given to Anthony, which Anthony had placed in a coat pocket, Adam finds a key, presumably to the spider lady sex show. #outofkey

1:26:18

Helen, did you plan on doing something tonight? Because I think I have to go out…

In other words, all of the soft spoken, professorial attitude was superficial because all Adam needs is the key to sex and he’s opening the door, letting Anthony back in. Men are so base. #thankgod

1:26:38 Lol, Adam walks into the bedroom to find out why Helen isn’t answering him and he finds a giant spider there. He doesn’t panic at all, or even call someone to come over and kill it for him.

Enemy 17 Along came a spider GIF (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Spider, man!

Here’s your chance to help me! Adam’s expression is rather vague upon seeing the spider. What do you think he’s thinking? Watch this GIF and leave a comment explaining what’s going through Adam’s mind.

Enemy 18 WTF GIF (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
WTF!?

[A reader called N commented below what I consider to be the best explanation yet of this scene. The look, N explains, is one of realisation. Adam finally understands what is happening. He, in a sense, remembers his other half and this moment is the click where everything falls into place – including his two halves.]

Roll credits

[Note: I used Chris Stuckmann‘s excellent video Enemy EXPLAINED – Movie Review (SPOILERS) for help in this review. One reader, Nostalgic Pen, also referenced an excellent article by Forrest Wickman in Slatewhere he states that Enemy is “a parable about what it’s like to live under a totalitarian state without knowing it.” The article supports this point well.]

Tally Ho’

  • WTF!?’s: 5 bitter ones
  • When to Follow: You might enjoy this if you thought Fight Club was too exciting and Under the Skin was too interesting.
  • Where’s This Found: To misquote E.B. White, “Explaining a film is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.” Out of a possible 10, I have 3 F’s to give

3 Fs 139pt

  • What To Feedback: Please be so good as to leave a comment as to what you think is crossing Adam’s mind in the final scene of the film (see GIF). Also, if you have a different interpretation of the film, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section!

All GIFs used in this review were created with the Imgflip online meme generator

Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos

Enemy 19 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Donnie Darko? WTF!?”
Enemy 20 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Black bored
Enemy 21 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Does this dress make me look fat?”
Enemy 22 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
The Laziest Pole Dancer
Enemy 23 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
How birds feed their young
Enemy 24 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Clear browser history…clear browser history…How can I clear my browser history?”
Enemy 25 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“WTF!? How does Cara Delevingne have my eyebrows?”

Enemy 26 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

Print suitable for reposting!

Enemy 27 Mum meme (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

What to Follow Up

WTF!? review of another offal film
Bar None Booze Revooze of another snooze
Fernby Films excellent review of a better “Enemy”

17 thoughts on “WTF: Enemy (2013)

  1. “So do spiders really climax, or was she faking that too?”

    Love the review. Much better than the movie. If I ever remember who recommended it, I shall have words with them.

    Like

    1. Uncle Toby! How good of you to pop in and leave a word. Your comment was hilarious! I so appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. Please come back and be funny again soon!

      WTF, Toby (Watch the Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  2. The scenes where Mary gets upset about the wedding ring imprint and the car crash were not symbolism. Those events actually happened. They are misplaced flash backs like pulp fiction. The crash took place 6 months ago and as a result Mary died and Adam/Anthony suffered from amnesia which caused an outer body form of split personality disorder. In the final scene with the giant spider he regains his memory 100% and realizes he is his old self again and is ready to start cheating on his wife again.

    PS: I really think you are a sex crazed maniac as every single one of your comnents/explanations has some sort of sexual inuendo at the end of it. Its really annoying and disgusting. (Talking about Qohen drowning in The Zero Theorem review. You have a sick mind.) And you basically copied your entire review from another site. Enemy is not a great film but it deserves more than 3 out of 10. You didn’t like it because you didn’t understand it. But I do like what you’re doing. (Rating as # of F’s to give, brilliant).

    Like

    1. My dear Timo and new favourite troll,

      Let me begin by thanking you profusely for your in depth comment. You clearly spent time on it and I’m grateful you chose this website on which to share them, regardless of how wrong they are. Your theory about the car accident being a misplaced flashback is interesting with major flaw. If you contend that the accident took place six months previous, at the (chronological) beginning of the film, before the personality split, then it makes no sense that the split personalities would discuss the rendez-vous that results in the accident.

      From 1:04:44

      You’re going to give me your clothes and your car, I’m going to take your girlfriend on a little romantic getaway. I’m going to bring her back home tomorrow, and then I’m going to come back here and I’m going to bring back all your stuff and I’m going to disappear from your life forever.

      The split personalities are speaking together before the accident you maintain created the split. WTF!?

      As for my being ‘a sex crazed maniac’…thank you! What a sweet thing to say! Nice of you to pay me that compliment.

      I copied my review from another site? Which site would that be? Yes, I did research and linked the site I used (unlike many online writers), but plagiarism? Seriously? Show me one site that wrote this before I did:

      0:59:46 Adam tells his troubles to his mum (Isabella Rossellini). I wish I could do this (tell my troubles to Isabella Rossellini, though my mum is a lovely bloke).

      Nowhere else on the internet, good Timo, but here.

      Finally, I must admit I got a smile when you criticized me by quoting me. “You didn’t like it because you didn’t understand it,” you wrote in your comment, which is a less eloquent way of phrasing my remark “To misquote E.B. White, ‘Explaining a film is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.'” So basically, you copied your entire comment from my article.

      In all seriousness, I appreciated your comment immensely. Your thoughts were interesting and your criticism constructive, and I’m pleased you appreciated the general concept of what I’m trying to accomplish here. Please come back again and share more of your impressions.

      WTF Timo (Watch the Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  3. Ok, I apologize for accusing you of copying your review. That was out of place and dismissive for me to say. I didn’t actually check the site you linked. Sorry.
    They were discussing a separate rendezvous. Adam/Anthony doesn’t know that Mary is dead. Part of him wants to bang her again but part of him feels like he can’t because he’s stuck in a marriage so he’s negotiating with himself. One of his personalities agrees to give the other his clothes and his car. Then, that other personality takes off and “disappears from his life forever.” We don’t see what happens to him. We just see a flashback that appears to align with what we think he is doing. And then we see the other one regain control of himself. There are four types of scenes in the movie. They are either real or a figment of his imagination and they’re either in the past or in the present and there is no way for the audience to know which is which. A real WTF mind fuck.
    Keep up the good work Saint Pauly.

    Like

  4. Hey man,

    Awesome review and quite funny too. I think it’s an in thing these days to pretend to like films with slightly complex storytelling lest you’d be deemed stupid. Sadly that just downplays one of the most crucial aspects of a good film which is visual storytelling. I dunno about you but I felt this film was visually very weak; lazy filmmaking if you will.

    Zacky

    Like

    1. My dear Zacky!

      How right you are, cinema is all about visual story telling and, for me, good story telling reaches some place deep inside me. Whereas Enemy scratches the surface of my mind, I look more for something that touches my soul. A good example of this would be Black Swan. While it might be what many people would call an ‘arty’ film, I felt so much passion flying off the screen that I left the theatre feeling changed. With Enemy, I left feeling bored and snarky.

      And yes, I found the screenplay had potential but wasn’t explored as much as it could have been and that the directing was ‘minimal’ as in ‘minimal’ effort was made. In addition to finding the film making ‘lazy’, we both agree my review is ‘awesome and quite funny’. 😉

      Seriously, thank you ever so much for the visit and the time to comment!

      WTF Zacky (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  5. 2 years late to the party – just watched for the first time and spent time googling reviews – this was the best. You nailed it except for final caption re spider and expression. Jake doesn’t see a spider. He sees his wife. She recoils at the sight of him because she realizes the man she fell in love with isn’t really back after all. His expression is one of realization – that Anthony never went away. He will never go away. Adam was a fantasy. As you said, spiders represent femininity throughout – his wife may make a subtle expression in reality to show that she knows, but to Jake it was an enormous sign, all that he could see, and forces him to realize the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest N!

      Thanks ever so for your visit and especially for your very astute comment – about howthis was the best Enemy review. And also regarding the ending! How could I have not seen that!? Of course the expression is one of realization! It’s realization tinged with relief over the enitre situation. I can’t thank you enough for your explanation, and shall be adding your observation to my review, with full credit, of course.

      Thanks once more for stopping by and commenting. Please feel free to return often and explain other films to us!

      WTF!? N, (Watch The Film)

      Saint Pauly

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo!

      You’re far too kind. I’m just happy my little analysis could clear a few things up for some readers. I do hope you’ll feel free to visit again and leave some more compliments 😉

      WTF (Watch The Film)!?

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  6. Hi you have spent so much time in analysing and giving a detailed review of the movie… But I hope you also checked what the metaphorically meant as described in slate. I agree black swan is one of the wonderful films but you can’t compare this with that. Enemy too is a super duper screnplayed film. It’s been a day since I saw the movie and I couldn’t get away with how could a movie have such a wonderful screenplay. Yes, it used complexity to fool our brains with its intricacy understanding limits. But in sixth sense there was one beautiful twist at the end that won our hearts and here in enemy the bringing in of a spider representation into a split personality or more suitably double personality syndrome is what makes this movie too as one of the best..at least according to me. And I really loved your hard work but I felt a little hurt by the way you make too much fun of its goofs and etc… If you could mention a line about that then your review and analysis will also be one of the best ….

    #NostalgicPen

    Like

    1. Hallo Nostalgic Pen!

      Thank you so much for your visit! You’re absolutely right, I just read the Slate article and it has some very interesting things to say about the imagery, especially when stating the film is “a parable about what it’s like to live under a totalitarian state without knowing it.”

      I’m glad you appreciated it! I still maintain that this film is different than The Sixth Sense and Black Swan in that I, personally, was able to understand them without researching multiple articles on the internet. I have no doubt that some people understood Enemy on first watch, but I was not one of them.

      Thank you for your appreciation of my efforts! I’m sorry that my (admittedly limited) sense of humour put you off a little, however. I did try one review where I kept my snarky comments to myself [this review of Star Wars], but my readers replied they missed these asides.

      Anyway, I’ll take your advice under consideration and post a line about Forrest Wickman’s analysis concerning totalitarianism. Thank you again for your input!

      WTF!? Nostalgic Pen (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

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