Enemy Movie Ending Explained: What Should We Make of Enemy’s Shocking Ending?

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Enemy Movie Ending Explained

Denis Villeneuve’s 2013 psychological drama film Enemy was produced by M. A. Faura and Niv Fichman. It was largely adapted from José Saramago’s 2002 book The Double by Javier Gullón.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays two physically identical but psychologically distinct men in the movie. Alongside Isabella Rossellini, Sarah Gadon, and Melanie Laurent also appear. It is a multinational coproduction between firms from Canada, France, and Spain.

On September 8th, 2013, Enemy had its world premiere in the Special Presentation category of the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie grossed $3.4 million at the box office after A24’s wide distribution of it on March 14 and garnered favorable reviews.

At the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards, Enemy received ten nominations and took home five awards, including Best Director for Villeneuve and Best Supporting Actress for Gadon. It won the 2014 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards for Best Canadian Film of the Year.

Plot Summary

Enemy Movie Ending Explained

In an underground bar, a man watches an erotic performance that ends with a naked woman about to trample a live tarantula under a platform high heel. Adam Bell, a history professor at a university, leads a calm, routine life in Toronto.

On the advice of a coworker, he rents the movie Where There’s a Will There’s a Way and, for a brief moment, notices an actor playing a bellhop who remarkably resembles himself.

Adam looks up the actor online and discovers that his name is Anthony Claire, also known by his stage name Daniel Saint Claire. Adam rents the other two movies Anthony has been in and develops an obsession with the actor, who resembles him physically.

The next instant, Adam digs through some boxes in his home and discovers a picture of a man who resembles himself with a woman’s hand on his shoulder. However, a piece of the image is missing, making it impossible to recognize the woman.

When Adam visits Anthony’s talent agency, he is mistaken for Anthony and given a private letter. Adam is stalking Anthony. Adam phones Anthony’s Mississauga apartment after learning of it, but he only gets Anthony’s pregnant wife, Helen.

She also thinks it’s a prank when Anthony’s voice is mistaken for Adam’s, but Adam assures her he is not Anthony. Helen is alarmed by this, and Adam ends the call suddenly.

Later, Adam contacts Anthony again, who answers and instructs him not to call back because he thinks Adam is a stalker. Anthony denies knowing anything when Helen questions him about the call and Adam’s existence.

Enemy Movie Ending Explained

Helen, who is not persuaded, looks up Adam online, learns where he lectures and manages to track him down. Even though Adam is unaware of Helen’s identity, Helen may be seen to be in shock at how much he resembles her husband.

Eventually, Anthony phones Adam, and they decide to meet in a hotel room. When they arrive, they find out that they are exactly alike, down to having the same scar. Adam declares that the meeting was a mistake and is surprised by Anthony’s blunt demeanor.

The two men start having nightmares that resemble one another or may even be the same, in which they first see a naked woman with a spider on her head and then a huge spider the size of a skyscraper moving across the city they live in.

Anthony is now pursuing Adam the next day. He sees Mary, Adam’s girlfriend, who he thinks is pretty. Anthony plans to embarrass and manipulate Adam into letting him sleep with Mary in order to “get even” by accusing him of having an affair with his wife.

For one night, he demands Adam’s clothes and car keys before promising to vanish forever. Adam agrees. He poses as him, and Anthony drives Mary to the hotel. Adam, acting out of retaliation, enters Anthony’s flat and is allowed inside.

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Enemy Movie Ending Explained

The building’s concierge begs “Anthony” to accompany him back to the sex club below the building.

Adam discovers a framed photograph inside the flat on a shelf that is like the one he had earlier discovered in his home, however this time it is in good condition and shows Helen.

In front of Helen, Adam tries to pass like Anthony, but it seems that she remembers his friendlier approach. She holds him close while acting unaware.

Helen finds Adam sobbing and apologizing later that night, tells him she likes him and begs him to stay, and then engages in sexual activity with him.

When Mary finds Anthony’s wedding band mark and wonders who he really is while having sex back at the hotel, she becomes frightened. Anthony believes that the mark has always been on him. She makes Anthony pick her up and drive her home.

While fighting in the car, the two have a high-speed collision that likely results in their deaths. The following day, Adam changes into Anthony’s clothes and finally reads the private letter he had previously received.

He discovers the secret code that only a few members of the underground sex club had. He decides to travel there and informs Helen he is leaving, but she doesn’t say anything.

Instead of Helen, he enters the bedroom to find a room-sized tarantula cowering against the back wall. Adam sighs with a dejected expression.

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Ending Explained

What the Hell Is Up With that Giant Spider?

Enemy Movie Ending Explained

Here is the scene that gave me insomnia. Adam enters the room Helen is entering and calls for her. Instead, a frickin’ enormous spider.  Is the Earth morphing into a web of enormous spiders? Oh, no.

This enormous spider stands in for Helen. Observe how terrified the spider is. Adam exudes an air of calmness. Not the expression one would have if they witnessed their wife transform into a vicious spider.

The biggest responsibility web for Anthony/Adam is being spun by Helen. She is therefore a huge spider.

Adam/Anthony sees Helen as the spider that is hiding. Adam/terror Anthony is a manifestation of his awareness of how he is obliterating Helen. He’s returning to the “club” to take in the “tarantula getting squashed” spectacle.

Squash the commitment that is keeping him feeling trapped—the wife and the child—by squashing the tarantula. With a straight face, he accepts this and resumes his adulterous behavior.

It was a tragedy the first time, and a farce the second time, Karl Marx remarked, as he previously stated in his lectures. Adam/Anthony recognizes that this is a recurring event and that it is not tragic. His own enemy is him.

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