A successful architect, Jeremy Angust, is approached on his trip to Paris by a strange young woman who will not leave him alone. Missing his flight and trapped in the airport lounge he is unable to get rid of the annoying stranger. Although the meeting at first seems to be by chance, soon there is a turn that will transform the nature of their encounter into something much more sinister and criminal.
Directed by Kike Maíllo and written by Cristina Clemente, Kike Maíllo, and Fernando Navarro, A Perfect Enemy is the film adaptation of the novel, The Enemy’s Cosmetique by Amélie Nothomb and stars Tomasz Kot (Cold War), Athena Strates (The Good Liar) and Marta Nieto (Madre).
While the concept itself was intriguing and the film watchable, the acting was difficult to sit through. Texel (Athena Strates), while a pretty face and expressive in personality, lost me with her ever-evolving accent and on-screen manic persona. Kot’s Jeremiasz was slightly more bearable, a lot more consistent with his accent and demeanour, yet equally one-dimensional. There was little chemistry between the two yet they are the entire focus of the film, especially with how Jeremiasz simply continues to entertain Texel’s lunacy despite her coming across as completely unhinged right from the start.
As the animosity between the two finally begins to crack open their established masks, we manage to forget a lot of the initial awkward conversation and enjoy a bit more of the story that is unfolding, though I was often left asking myself if the awkward conversations and interactions were due to English not being either actor’s native tongue, or whether it was perhaps due to the script itself—poorly written characters rather than a lack of acting chops?
As the film stumbled into its last act, I’m pretty sure that I was sat in my chair, arms folded and legs crossed, eyebrows raised and pinched with my eyes naught but pupils staring grumpily at my screen. I even imagine a bit of a pout. What I had hoped would turn into something akin to a Sleuth type film ended up being something rather…blasé. I cannot drop any spoilers, but suffice it to say that things got more confusing and complicated as the film drew nearer to its climax, although I did have my suspicions as to how things would eventually play out…suspicions that were disappointingly correct.
The Perfect Enemy is not a terrible nor a great film. It struggles with a dialogue that is often stilted and with a language barrier that sits at its heart even though the film is an English language production. There are some great visuals and clever imagery that are used really successfully throughout, but I’d already fallen out of love with the characters in the first act and it was hard for me to reconnect thereafter. There was a lot of good that—unfortunately—got pushed to the background due to a few critical flaws that I, personally, could not let go of.
The film succeeds in all technical aspects with the editing, pacing, score, and the rest being all of excellent quality and composition. It is an international picture, filmed in Spain, Germany, and France, and is–if nothing else–a well-made piece of cinema. I just did not enjoy the casting. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below. A Perfect Enemy will be available on Digital Download from 5th July on Amazon, Google & iTunes.
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