Enemy Movie Review: A no-frills action thriller that strikes the right emotional chords
A majorly entertaining actioner that refrains from biting what it can't chew
Enemy is not only a film with lots of weaponry, but also one that takes a different type of gun—the Chekhov's gun—quite seriously. There’s quite a bit of evident foreshadowing as well. A dialogue like, "Naan un rani-a thookiten parthiya?" is followed by a shot of a girl close to one of the leads getting kidnapped. A shot that lingers on a digital board, is later followed by the villain hacking into it. Does all the familiarising get us excited throughout the film? The results are varied. You go ‘wow’, but you also go ‘meh’.
Cast: Vishal, Arya, Mirnalini Ravi, Mamta Mohandas
Director: Anand Shankar
Where the film excels in though, is with the emotions. Though we are puzzled about how the leads, Chozhan (Vishal) and Rajiv (Arya), orchestrate missions and evade the law enforcement—like every other action film—it is the 'why' that is of interest. Both men in the film are aware that they can't inflict pain on each other physically, and so, they aim for each other's hearts. Though this isn't an entirely novel idea on the silver screen, the way Anand Shankar builds everything on top of a solid backstory, involving Prakash Raj and the two kids, makes for interesting cinema.
Some may be slightly confused by terms like heat-radiating paints, photographic memory and remote-controlled pacemakers, but if you enjoy these gadgets and the novelty, you are guaranteed a fun ride in this film that is full of such concepts. Though the film doesn't quite outwit the audience with reveals, it keeps trying. Excluding the overlong video call episode of Arya, the film steadily throws you something new to be invested in.
While logic can take a backseat in such action affairs, it does get disconcerting when some basic questions don’t seem to get answered. "Why didn't the leads choose to settle their score by combat when they met for the first time as adults?" "How did one of the leads walk away scot-free, after killing a foreign minister?" "How did Mamta's Anisha guard her identity for decades, while having an obvious surname?"
For these reasons and more, the film isn't Vishal's career-best, but the actor is very much back to form, after some mellow outings recently. The dancing reminds you of his Chellame days, and he looks the part as the alpha male, excelling in action sequences and looking at home with the performance as well. I found it a tad strange that the character seemed to, for some reason, show high levels of concern for Non-Resident Tamils. It is a part of the narrative, sure, but the treatment feels like an advertorial aimed to project the actor as a saviour.
Arya as an actor has the gift of a disarming smile, it’s one that can conceal kind intentions or black malice. It’s hard to truly predict what's underneath until he chooses to reveal it. And this comes in extremely handy for his character, Rajiv, in Enemy. Though Vishal holds an upper hand in action, Arya charms with his style. His 'I have seen everything' attitude in the film explains what Rajiv could have potentially gone on to become such a cold person.
In many action-thrillers, the customary love track and songs come through as speed breakers, but even these elements are quite enjoyable, in the context of this film being a festival release. The sequences are written not to dilute the essence of the main plot.
Enemy is a simple, yet refreshing action thriller, that is self-aware of its potential and refrains from biting more than it can chew. Even the social message towards the end is subtle. Sometimes, it’s better not to aspire for the skies, and pick a level that’s reachable. It’s why Enemy feels like such an efficient film.