Enemy | The Definitive Explanation

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  1. Very well written, it covers almost everything that happened in the film and it gave me new interesting POV wich made this film even a better one!

  2. You failed to mention the web motif, which represents his freedom. The spider being crushed at the beginning represents the freedom to spin his own web of deceit.

    And history repeating itself as a farce is the ending. He’s about to do it again only this time he’s not tragically fooling himself.

    • It’s been a bit since I wrote the article but I don’t remember webs appearing throughout the movie? Do you just mean webs as in the web of lies he’s been weaving? As opposed to an actual visual of webs?

      And regarding history repeating itself, I do have a paragraph where I say exactly that:

      “So in Enemy, we’ve come full circle with Anthony. He started fractured. Went through the whole Adam/Anthony journey. Ended up reconnecting with his wife. And it seems like things will be better. All he has to do is NOT REPEAT THE SAME BEHAVIORS THAT COMPLICATED HIS LIFE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Put another way: break out of the pattern. How? Call his mom back. Throw away the key. Stay committed to his life with his wife. Instead, what does he do? He begins to weave another lie. He thinks he has to go out? Get real. He wants to go to the club. He’s falling victim to his carnal vices. Again. It’s the same thing that got him in trouble in the first place.”

      • He meant webs literally…there’s a scene with a broken glass car window after daniels crash that resembles a web…metaphorical web of lies too.

  3. Thank you Chris for the thorough analysis, it really encouraged me to watch Enemy again and helped me understand + enjoy the film. Here are some of my thoughts…

    * I know this doesn’t exactly fit after the opening scene where Anthony listens to her mother’s message on the phone, but I’d like to think the part where we see the underground club for the first time could be the actual ending of the film, where the circle is complete, and he already made the decision to go to the club. We’re about to watch an iteration within an endless loop, which is the rest of the film.

    * The scene where Anthony and Adam talk on the phone for the first time and Anthony tells Adam not to contact him again. After he hangs up, Helen confronts him: “Are you seeing her AGAIN?” His response: “I don’t want to talk about this AGAIN.” So, there’s a history of cheating. He probably returned to his wife, apologised, and told her it was over, but it wasn’t. Helen: “You’re lying.” In the film, we watch Adam and Anthony talking but maybe it REALLY is Mary Anthony has been talking to, and he’s, of course, lying.

    * In a way, this is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. We can see it in the way Anthony looks at Mary on the bus. The expression on his face tells us all. And then, he plots to steal her from Adam. The egoistic, evil side surfaces.

    * Another clue worth mentioning: When Adam asks his mother about Anthony in her home, she tells him to “quit your fantasy about becoming a 3rd rate actor!”

    * The scene where we watch Adam with Helen at home and Anthony with Mary at the hotel, then the car, simultaneously… The hotel + car part with Mary is all happening inside his head while repairing his relationship with his wife. At the end of this scene, after the accident, Adam and Anthony become one again.

    * One last observation: Throughout the film, we see a lot of tall concrete buildings. Are these human webs?

    * If I had to summarise the film with one sentence: “What would it look/feel like if our internal conflicts could be externalised?”

    • Appreciate you reading! I like that idea of the endless loop! The one detail I think pushes back on it is the friend who says “I need to go back”. It would seem he’s referencing the opening scene. But it doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of the first underground club being the ending. And, they would be going back to see something similar, so in some ways it is the end, if you want to get super existential about it lol.

      Yeah, he definitely cheated before. I do think the scenes where he’s talking to his “other self” are really just moments he’s having that moral dilemma. So literally, he’s talking to Mary. But he’s having that internal strife and that’s what’s shown on screen.

      Definitely a Jekyll and Hyde story!

      Yeah, the hotel + car part definitely embodies a breakup. It’s just a question of if he broke up with her somehow in person or over the phone (at a different time) or if it’s what’s going on in his heart.

      Good summary sentence!

      I don’t know how much we should read into the buildings. As far as I’m aware, there’s not really an in-road that we could point to that would let us come up with a real evidenced-based argument. We just have some spider symbolism at different points of the film. If there was some dialogue or some other imagery then maybe that would work? As is, there’s not enough to go on that would make me feel comfortable claiming something. So my default answer would be “it just goes with a kind of brutalism-based visual aesthetic.”

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