reviewed by Tom-Tom
In the beginning of “Enemy” we see a strange scene in a strange club which features a spider. I was reminded of a conversation between two young boys in the film “Syriana” when they spoke of spiders as being the symbol of all sin but also remarked on how cool Spider-Man was. The spider here is lurking around naked women who are being viewed by disgusting looking men of another age, it seems. The film has a sort of pseudo-Kubrick feel to it. The club, if it really exists, has an “Eyes Wide Shut” sort of eroticism about it. The Canadian metropolitan landscape is yellow tinged and littered with gloomy high rises in Borg cube and candelabra shapes. Gynllenhaal in both roles sports a heavy beard. He is Adam Bell, a mediocre history professor at a university who has a friend with benefits. He is also Daniel Saint-Claire a third-rate actor who has Isabella Rossellini as his mother telling him he is a third-rate actor. The two men’s discovery of each other is a slow burning affair. We see Professor Bell’s lackluster lectures and Daniel the actor’s bit roles such as “Bellhop #3” in terrible Canadian films. Their first encounter is prefaced by rather harsh atmospheric drone at times, symphonic cacophony at others. Subsequent encounters bear a certain threatening tone as one becomes increasingly aggressive for sinister reasons. The literature of doubles is quite old. My favorite is Edgar Allan Poe’s William Wilson in which the doppelganger also bears the narrator’s full name and follows him around stopping him right before committing some slight of school rules or, later in life, some infraction of the law. Nothing is that clear cut here. The existence of the double exhibits rage in one and terror in the other. The film ends abruptly leaving the viewer challenging everything. There’s no M. Night Shyamalan twist which can be understood during subsequent viewings. There is only the chaos left behind from a colossal mind screw.