The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Digital] - A PERFECT ENEMY | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [Digital] - A PERFECT ENEMY

a perfect enemy review
Stuck in an airport lounge, an uptight architect is harassed by a mysterious young woman.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Kike Maíllo

Starring: Tomasz Kot, Athena Strates, Marta Nieto, Dominique Pinon

a perfect enemy poster

Much like the recent Canadian thriller The Oak Room, Spanish director Kike Maíllo's A Perfect Enemy is a movie in love with storytelling. Cynical viewers might say it's a little too in love with its own story, stretching a premise that might just as easily have worked in a short across 90 minutes. But it's the telling of the tale here, and the various stories within its central narrative, that keep us hooked.

A Perfect Enemy begins in the vein of Something Wild or After Hours, as a young blonde woman arrives like a hurricane into the ordered life of a stuffed shirt man.

a perfect enemy review

Jeremiasz Angust (Tomasz Kot) is a Polish architect in Paris to deliver a lecture on his work and his philosophy of using his profession to help those in the developing world. He wants to get out of the French capital as quickly as possible, as it brings back bad memories of Isabelle (Marta Nieto), the wife who left him soon after their marriage. While stuck in traffic, Jeremiasz reluctantly agrees to share his cab with Texel (Athena Strates), a rain-sodden young Dutch woman who is also in a rush to catch a flight.


When the pair arrive at the airport, they discover they've both missed their flights. Jeremiasz bids farewell to Texel and heads for the recently constructed lounge, which he was himself involved in designing. A scale model of the lounge catches his attention, as it appears to have a small bloodstain within its glass. Much to his annoyance, Jeremiasz finds himself harassed once again by Texel, who insists he join her at the bar. Realising she's not going to leave him alone, he accepts her offer.

a perfect enemy review

It's at this point that Texel adopts the role of sinister storyteller. After confessing that she has killed two people in her life, she proceeds to tell a story in three parts – the first "Disgusting", the second "scary" and the third "ending with love."

As Texel's story develops, Jeremiasz grows increasingly uncomfortable, as it seems this mysterious young woman may not be the stranger she pretends to be.


Through the character of Texel, Maíllo delivers a meta examination of storytelling and specifically the relationship between the teller and the listener. As Texel is wont to point out, Jeremiasz is creating a version of her story in his head that mirrors his own experiences and preconceptions. When she mentions her childhood home, he pictures his own childhood home, a communist tower block a million miles away from the trailer park on the outskirts of Rotterdam where Texel's story actually played out. When Texel mentions her one true love, Jeremiasz assumes she's speaking of a man even though she hadn't mention any specific sex. This idea that a story is partly created by the experiences of the listener gradually develops in sinister fashion, as details of Jeremiasz's past are revealed through their uncanny connections with the tale told by this unconventional storyteller.

a perfect enemy review

If at times the dialogue is a little creaky, Strates' arresting performance goes a long way to giving it life. Like Jeremiasz, we're held in her thrall as we try to figure out just what role she really plays in his life. Things take a magic realist turn when figurines of Jeremiasz and Texel appear in the miniature model of the airport lounge. A Parisian flashback owes much to Hitchcock's Vertigo, and perhaps a little to De Palma's Obsession. Maíllo relies too heavily on dialogue to be considered in the same realm as those most cinematic filmmakers, but his obsessions (pardon the pun) are similar – enigmatic blonde women, stuffy male protagonists, and a delight in stringing an audience along with a good yarn.

A Perfect Enemy is on UK/ROI Digital from July 5th.



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