Review of the film “Enemy” (2023) | Kino magazine

Enemy (2023)
Director: Garth Davis
Writers: Garth Davis, Ian Reid
Cast: Paul Mescal, Saoirse Ronan, Aaron Pierre.

Paul Mescal. Saoirse Ronan. An adaptation of the popular novel by the same author as I’m Thinking of Ending Things.. The latest work from Australian director Garth Davis enemy, a film that can be described as equal parts science fiction, psychological horror, and relationship drama. Conceptually, it has glimpses of a number of films, including Marriage story, Her, Passengers and at least three episodes of Black Mirror, but that doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Set in the near future, 2065, in the American Midwest, we are faced with a world where climate change has effectively devastated the Earth. The world is becoming increasingly uninhabitable, and with artificial intelligence replicas capable of performing everyday manual tasks, the possibility of moving people into space becomes an inevitable reality. This reality knocks on the door of humble young couple Hen (Saoirse Ronan) and Junior (Paul Mescal) one night in the form of government official Terrence (Aaron Pierre). Terrence sits the couple down and tells them that Junior has been shortlisted to leave Earth for two years and spend time living and working on a newly formed space station colony. Junior is repulsed by the idea, especially the thought of leaving his wife. This news changes the relationship, but despite the distance, life goes on.

It wasn’t until Terrence returned a year later with Junior’s draft papers that he would definitely leave. But to overcome his fear of leaving his wife alone, Terrence reassures Junior that she will not be left alone. In fact, Terrence will stay with the couple and do research on them and their marriage to create a perfect copy of Junior using artificial intelligence.

What follows is a tense portrayal of a couple under a microscope and an apparently unraveling marriage. There are moments of passion, and of course there is deep love and intimacy, but everything seems cold. It’s like someone is freezing the flame of what once was. The script often leaves room for emotion, resulting in a restrained but desperate portrayal of a man on the brink; This is not just a story of problems in a couple’s relationship, it is a story of a man’s fear of being replaced.

This restraint extends to the film’s visual landscape. Australia stands in for the American Midwest, and desert dust settles over this apocalyptic gap: not quite a wasteland, and certainly not a living, thriving home. The film is often shot in muted tones, under the cover of darkness, or lit only by bright green headlights that mark Terrence’s coming and going. Park Jiha’s music only enhances the atmosphere: it is eerie, minimalistic, futuristic and naturalistic in general.

But it’s in the space seemingly left in every aspect of the film’s making that it’s impossible not to want something more. The pace is painfully slow, and while the mystery of the situation keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting to know more, the film often loops in on itself, leaving you wondering what’s going on. Its final act, in which the truth of the situation is revealed, is powerfully done, but the film’s emotional weight feels far from earned.

This is by no means the fault enemy throw. Paul Mescal and Saoirse Ronan have established themselves as household names, and although the material enemy not enough to spark stellar turns, they remain consistently good. Ronan demonstrates Hen’s quiet dissatisfaction in a subdued manner that feels like it should lead to something, but never does. Perhaps that’s the point: being in a marriage like hers, you constantly wonder if it will ever get better, but life moves on at the same pace. In contrast, Junior Mescal feels much angrier than Hen. Mescal brings some of the jagged edges he brought to his Olivier-winning stage performance in A Streetcar Named Desire., but retains an understanding of emotional vulnerability: a factor that made him an outstanding man inOrdinary people‘. As the lingering, observant presence, Aaron Pierre does a fine job of holding authority even with just a glance.

With such a small cast, a dialogue-heavy script, and an emotionally heavy core relationship, it seems clear that enemy it would have been much better as a play than as a film. The idea of ​​feeling this tension palpably in the air seems like a much better alternative to sitting and trying to absorb this turmoil through a screen that is not very accessible.

enemy could have been something special, but the collision of big, sweeping ideas trying to play out as a subtle relationship drama leaves something in the middle, something severely missing. It’s the type of film that can be appreciated in the moment and makes you think about it for a day or two, but other than one viewing to try to see the portents of its conclusion, it’s hard to imagine it being a repeat viewing. for many.

Rating: 13/24

Rating: 2 out of 5.

By Rehana Nurmakhi

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