In promotional materials Enemy called itself a “sci-fi psychological thriller”. I’m a big fan of both science fiction and psychological thrillers, so I really enjoyed this movie. Unfortunately, Enemy provided very few, if any, thrills. What about science fiction? Fine. The kindest word that comes to mind is “not impressive.”
Enemy The story takes place in 2065, in a world where the Earth has suffered from significant climate change. The story follows a couple, Hen (Saoirse Ronan) and Junior (Paul Mescal), who live alone on a secluded piece of farmland. One day, a government official (Aaron Pierre) appears and reports that Junior is being hired to help with a space colonization mission. Additionally, while Junior is in space, Hen will be living with what is essentially a government-released clone of her husband, programmed to store all of his memories. The government guy needs to stay with the couple for a while to observe Junior and run some tests to get him ready. At the same time, he begins to drive a wedge into the already difficult relationship between Hen and Junior.
Even Oscar nominated actors can’t sell these characters.
It’s hard for me to even know where to start to describe how much I disliked it Enemy. The characters, the relationships, the sci-fi, the story… every element feels poorly executed. Not to mention, it doesn’t do what I ask a movie to do: entertain me.
But I’m a writer, so let’s start there. Dialogue in Enemy so unnatural and strange that sometimes it’s laughably bad. Which is doubly painful because most of this movie is just two people talking in a farmhouse room, or in a field, or in a slightly different farmhouse room, or in a slightly different field. The only break you get from such awkward dialogue is when someone instead offers an obnoxious line clearly intended to be “deep.” (“I’ll leave a blank letter that says everything and nothing.” / “Imagine we’re looking down at the sky instead of up.”) Wow.
The script is so bad that even Ronan and Mescal, two incredibly talented Oscar-nominated performers, can’t save it. You can tell that these actors are giving the project their all, but nothing seems to evoke emotion in the way the film clearly intended. Nowadays, lack of emotional connection and investment is a problem for any story. But this is especially a problem when the plot of a film depends on the romance between its main characters.
This is another huge problem in Enemy. The film waits almost an hour to even introduce the concept of an AI doppelganger (and as such, the so-called “sci-fi thriller” plot part). Instead, it tries to draw viewers into the everyday life and love of Junior and Hen.
And, in fact, he fails to do this.
Maybe it’s a weird, rambling dialogue. Maybe it’s because at every turn it seems like Hen and Junior aren’t really a good fit for each other. Either way, I’m just not interested in their relationship, no matter how many naughty sex scenes the movie uses to convince us they’re in love.
“The Enemy” Doesn’t Understand a Basic Science Fiction Concept
So, the film’s script, characters, and central relationships struggle. Enemy. But is the sci-fi aspect cool? Attraction? Interesting?
And what’s worse, it’s clear that Enemy desperately wants to be interesting, thought-provoking science fiction. But here everything, from staging to execution, goes awry. We don’t even receive any science fiction until the middle of the film, except for the statement that the action takes place in the near future.
I’m left to assume that the introduction of the government-created clone-double plan was meant to give the story an exciting twist… Except that the concept of AI “humans” was introduced at the very beginning of the film, in its written introduction. to the world. So you spend the entire first half of the movie waiting for the robots to show up.
When Terrence (Pierre) finally reappears to make the “big discovery” – that when Junior goes on a space mission, he will be replaced by a “biological duplicate” – it doesn’t feel like a stunning revelation. It just feels like… oh, we finally get to the point.
Likewise, by the time the story reveals its final “twist” (again, a term I use loosely), everything still feels vaguely empty. The audience not only struggles to understand and care about the characters, but also struggles to understand the essence of science fiction and what you’re supposed to take away from it all.
If the government really cares about these AI bio-duplicates, then what does the space mission have to do with it? If they knew they had the ability to transfer these cloned things into a person’s memories and cause him to act with emotions, why would they “never dream that he could experience love”? Similar to Enemy just tried to recycle a fairly standard sci-fi plot about artificial intelligence and humanity and messed it up, somehow having no effect.
Just… watch something else, okay?
In general I would describe Enemy How tiring blunt. This film is just under two hours long, but I thought it was at least twice that long. Not only do you have to wait until about halfway through for the “real” story to begin, but it’s also one of those movies that drags on its ending. I honestly thought (hoped) it was over at least three times before the credits rolled.
The sci-fi concept not only doesn’t contain anything new or interesting, it’s not even a well-tested concept. Despite Ronan and Mescal’s best efforts, Hen and Junior’s relationship never worked out. And any attempt at dramatic thrills is undermined by a clunky script and a lack of focus on the characters. Honestly, I couldn’t wait for it to end.
Enemy Premiere in cinemas on October 6.