A Perfect Enemy (2020) – Film Review
Director: Kike Maíllo
Cast: Tomasz Kot, Athena Strates, Marta Nieto
By @Roger Crow
Movie thrillers have taught us many things over the years. ‘Never trust a stranger, either on the way to an airport or on a flight,’ is always good advice, at least in film land.
Wes Craven proved this with his offering Red Eye, which was sold as a horror film, but was actually a mid-air nail-biter with Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams. And a lot of fun it was too.
The latest foray into the genre is Euro thriller A Perfect Enemy, which boasts some of the best opening titles of the year.
The film centres on successful architect Jeremy Angust. He 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 more sinister and criminal.
Jeremy might be excellent at creating buildings, but he’s not very smart when it comes to realising he’s playing a part in someone else’s grand design.
The whole thing is very elegant, rather stagey, and I can’t help thinking it would have been better in a language other than English.
As good as the cast are there’s a stilted quality about the dialogue. It ticks over and there’s a Don’t Look Now feel about a model of the airport with a bloodstain. In the hands of the much missed Nicolas Roeg, this would have been chilling, but here it just piques the interest.
The shadow of Killing Eve also looms large over the movie. But it lacks the wit of that series, or Jodie Comer’s magnificent contribution as the psychotic Villanelle.
“Treads that mid ground”
On the plus side it’s always great to see Dominique Piñon, who was so good in Delicatessen (30 years ago!), and The City of Lost Children.
It might go down a storm on Saturday night, BBC Four, though again that dialogue is all a little off, like a badly tuned piano.
I’m guessing the source novel by Amélie Nothomb is more effective, though director Kike Maíllo at least does a good job of sustaining the interest.
So it’s not a runaway success or a complete failure, but it treads that mid ground between the two. Less flashbacks and stories within the story and it might have been more effective, instead of the sort of thing usually relegated to a streaming channel in a few weeks to make up their quota of daily premieres.