What if you were to learn that you were not a unique individual, but that there was someone out there exactly like you, living a life quite different from yours. Wouldn’t you obsess over it, too? Wouldn’t you want to try on the other person’s life? Just for a day?
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam, aka the hottest history professor I’ve never had, who is seemingly stuck in a (not so bad) rut of teaching and sexing his girlfriend in his very sterile apartment. Until one day he watches a movie and finds his own spitting image in the role of an extra, an actor named Anthony. When he tries to find out more about his other self, things start to get weird…
I’ve never read The Double by José Saramago, on which this movie is based, and I can’t say I fully understood it. But literary theory on the doppelgänger as a trope tells me that it’s never a good sign when a double enters the scene, and sure enough, Adam/Anthony finds himself in a nightmarish situation.
Gyllenhaal does a great job at portraying the reaction of someone faced with the uncanny — or should I say, reactions, since he plays two roles? The protagonist and his double are both different and the same, and at some point during the movie it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between the two of them. The question arises: does it even matter? Does it even matter who you are? And if so, to whom?
Enemy works well as a mindfuck, but that’s not what kept me watching. I much preferred reading the movie as an interrogation of the role of identity in human relationships, rather than a psychological profile. If that makes any sense. If not, you might want to steer clear of this one…
Three stars for Gyllenhaal, who is both dreamy and creepy, and for the spiders. You’ve got to mention the spiders!