Friday, 11 April 2014

The Enemy (2011) Dejan Zecevic

A man sits smoking in pitch dark, quiet, but then light breaks in and he is walled up no more... In 1994, the first few days after the end of the conflict in Bosnia a team of soldiers are working to dismantle and remove mines they themselves planted, while staying in an abandoned farmhouse awaiting relief. Should be a time for packing up and going home but they just released someone they possibly shouldn't have. A rum cove at the least... 

The Enemy probably won't be dazzling anyone with its originality or innovation but within confines it gets things pretty right. Wisely it sets out its stall pretty clearly pretty early on, there's some interesting mystery in the finer details but overall the deal isn't complicated or elusive so the audience is well set up to just take it and settle in to get thrilled, the appeal is mostly visceral rather than cerebral which makes a nice change. Curious freed prisoner Daba is a cerebral type though, quiet, polite and wry, authoritative not by force but by wisdom, indeed with neither need nor inclination to really use force. He's the films trump card, such fun to spend time with that most predictability is smoothed over. Mind you, the generally solid performances also work in this way, without too much in the way of exposition or general fat they come across as a tight, coherent unit, not always comfortable but perfectly able to work together. And when it comes to ratcheting up the excitement now and again alongside the growing tension, mines make for a rather fun complement to the expected guns and fisticuffs. 

This is altogether, rather good stuff if military themed psychological horror is your thing. Aside from one expected bit of shallow brutishness that strikes more as lazy than shocking I have no real complaints about the general lie of it, in fact I had a really good time. But it surely could have been more. The mine removal set up could have been a piercing light into the absurd fog of war, a scene of outright offbeat humour shows how inspired, how different this could have been had it really spread its wings. Sure, quality generica is still quality, but I can sense the film shifting and preparing to recede less than a fortnight after viewing. Meh, don't take that as a deterrent though, watch it anyway and you might well think different. Over and out!

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