Reflection in the Mirror (A Review of the Movie ENEMY)

One of the biggest barriers that stands in the way of men committing to marriage is opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost is an economic term expressing the loss of potential gain from other alternatives, once an alternative has been chosen.

The cost of working out at 5am every morning is sleeping in or watching tv.

The cost of eating a salad at your desk instead of getting burgers and fries with your co-workers.

The cost of working nights and weekends is time spend with our spouse and children.

With many men, the opportunity cost associated with marriage is too immense to undergo. The opportunity cost could be the chance to fully dedicate oneself to their craft or career, the perceived cost of one’s freedom, or forgoing the possibilities with countless other women in the world.

It takes a strong-minded individual, to let go of possibilities not meant for them.

Often this is a battle that wages on in men, even after they tie the knot.

I have never seen this situation so artistically portrayed, until I came across the movie Enemy.

I’ll be making some observations about the movie and making some parallels to men in society today.

Obviously, there will be some spoilers so if you want, watch the movie first before reading the blog.

The Mirror Within

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Enemy is a movie based on the 2002 novel “The Double”, directed by Denis Villeneuve, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

The movie’s plot is about a history professor name Adam Bell who encounters a man by the name of Anthony Claire whom looks exactly like him.

The film is drenched with symbolism and eerily follows the underlying theme of the opening quote:

“Chaos is order yet undeciphered.”

The movie does an excellent job building up the suspense of finding out how these men are exact physical copies and have never met; radically different in lives and mentalities.

Adam, a timid, mild-mannered professor, and Anthony an actor, married to a beautiful woman and with an upscale condo.

The attitude towards women in the film are symbolized by spiders, specifically tarantulas. At the beginning of the film we see Anthony in a sex club with a woman threatening to crush a normal-sized tarantula, while at the end of the film when Adam has settled into his new life, we see him walk in on his wife who has become a giant-sized tarantula, yet Adam is unnerved when he sees this. Almost as if he has encountered this situation before.

Confused yet? I’ve given you the major pieces, now let’s get into what they represent.

The first time I watched this movie I was waiting for this big reveal as to how these identical individuals where unaware of each other’s existence.

Then I realized watching it a second time, the intent was never to expose that.

Adam and Anthony are not identical twins separate at birth, they are two personalities within the SAME MIND.

Adam is Anthony and Anthony is Adam.

The other thing that struck me as odd, is their lifestyles seem to be switched around. Adam is a boring history professor, with a loose relationship with a woman, living the bachelor life; whereas Anthony is the budding movie start with the responsibilities of a husband, managing daily life with his pregnant wife.

It’s as if they are substituting for each other, within one’s own psyche. Escape personas in the mind, whenever the pressures of married life and the thoughts of a potential child weigh on his mind.

At the climax of the movie, Anthony demands he gets to take Adams girlfriend on a secluded getaway, whereas Adam goes into Anthony’s apartment and becomes the husband.

Anthony and Adam’s girlfriend die in an “accident”; Adam resumes the role of husband to soon-to-be father.

At the beginning of the movie the tarantula is seen as a small, priority in Anthony’s life; A play thing, that can be removed at any time.

At the end of the movie, Adam being entrenched in the role of husband and soon-to-be father encounters his wife, embodying the tarantula. Which is now massive; an overpowering but familiar situation.

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Conclusion

This movie was meant to set a stage.

A stage of what the goes through the inside of a man’s mind, when faced with commitment.

Do you face the tarantula in the room? Or do you retreat? Do you go to a place where your psyche creates a stand-in?

I mentioned in the intro, it takes a strong-minded individual to let go of possibilities not meant for them.

In many ways, I feel this film invites the viewer to peer into the mind of someone who has not.

The director has been quoted as saying this movie is about “his subconscious or rather, Jake Gyllenhaal’s subconscious.”

It’s a movie about choices.

Which is why I led this blog discussion opportunity cost.

Life is ultimately a summary of the choices we make.

A man must own his choices

And let go of things not meant for him.

A man not only has to make those choices but maintain order and control of those choices made.

A man’s true worse enemy is himself.

Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign -E

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