A psychological drama that never connects in the way that it thinks it does. A Perfect Enemy misses more than it hits, but when those hits flash before us, they do work well though the lead up to the finale is what costs the film.
Successful architect Jeremiasz 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 cannot 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.
We have all seen a similar set-up before, and if films have taught us, one thing is that no matter what, never allow a stranger (even beautiful ones) into your taxi. It just never works out well for you. Alas, Jeremiasz allows the soaked Texel in and from there, his world is turned upside down. We also have the well worn charismatic character detailing the story to a protagonist who is very hard to connect with. Causing A Perfect Enemy to begin to feel all too formulaic without some modern twists would have been a typical 90s early 00s thriller.
A struggle throughout A Perfect Enemy is emotion. Whether it be from our trio of writers, Kike Maíllo’s direction, or the cast’s performances, there is simply none. We should be compelled by this story, by what Texel is telling us, yet we don’t. It all feels flat and forced, and when it becomes a pivotal aspect of your film for the audience to at least be intrigued by what is on the screen, the film fails. The static nature of the scenes where our two characters verbally duel it out around the airport leaves a little to be desired, and with just a few types of shots used. Feeling as if the entire film would be far better suited to being a play.
There has been an odd decision for the cast to speak in English, which brings an air of mystery to proceedings, yet somehow keeps all of what we see and experience feel somewhat illusive. As if at no point are we seeing the truth anywhere before us. This, at times, works magnificently for the film, as we see both try to find the right words to say to one another. However, this decision also presents a rather glaring fact. The dialogue is far too clunky for something that should flow by as smooth as possible. For a film that is as dialogue-heavy as A Perfect Enemy is, this becomes a sudden and inescapable problem.
With that said, there is good work being done here, and truths are exposed; whenever someone details a story to you, much like Jeremiasz does, we come to our conclusions about what that looked like. We are creative creatures, after all, and our minds do like to. The attempts at misdirection and weaving through the plot work well here, and our two leads are doing their best, though neither are particularly likeable. Tomasz Kot is solid as Jeremiasz. However, it is Athena States that steals the film as Texel. Yes, she may annoy you in those first scenes, but that is precisely the point, and she plays her role in the movie very well.
We are left with a film with all the right parts to be a memorable film even with its somewhat clichéd plot. Still, with a mixture of issues that are just too obvious to ignore, A Perfect Enemy becomes a film more style than substance and disappointedly so.
A Perfect Enemy will be available on Amazon/Google & iTunes from 5th July
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