Anand Shankar’s new film Enemy starring Vishal and Arya, is a film that wants to place two characters equally powerful against each other. But the problem is with the spoon-fed narrative that intends to explain each and every bit. After setting up the premise, the film goes towards a central conflict that feels way too brittle. With the second half of the movie lacking conviction, Enemy feels exhausting and ends up being a disappointment.
Chozhan and Rajiv were best friends in their childhood. Rajiv’s father was an ex-CBI officer, and he trained both of these boys to be efficient police officers. But after the untimely death of Rajiv’s father, the boys got separated. Years later, Chozhan and his father are running a grocery shop in Singapore. Rajiv had grown to become an assassin. When Rajiv arrives in Singapore for his new mission, Chozhan is able to spot his presence and what we see in Enemy is that cat and mouse game between the two.
There are three or four instances in the whole film where the plot twist will actually impress you. But the narrative isn’t coherent enough to convince you, and all these photographic memory and intelligence are too much for the viewer to digest. Up to interval, even though the film is using its creative liberty, there is a sense of engagement to the script. But once the movie goes to the second half, the writing is running out of ideas. It becomes an ego-driven cat and mouse game that gets dragged far too much. Arya addresses a whole neighborhood by appearing on a giant LED display, and I wonder who would have placed a camera on that for him to see the people.
Just like Anand Shankar’s last two films, Enemy also has these glossy locations and the scale. Certain set-pieces in the movie do use the visual grandeur of a place like Singapore. But the film isn’t that gripping to make us feel the need for such a scale. It’s almost like, they decided to shoot it in Singapore first and then designed the stunts based on that. The muddled second half is the major speed bump for the movie. To mess up Rajiv’s plan, Chozhan even decides to get engaged in a matter of hours. And the twists getting twists reminded me of the Abbas Mustan thrillers, especially the Race franchise. RD Rajashekhar’s cinematography projects the scale of the movie for the most part, and the visual effects and production design were good. The music doesn’t really stay with you as most of it is added forcefully, while the background score could create an impact.
Vishal, as Chozhan, is in his typical style, and the “funny” acting was a bit difficult to tolerate. Arya, on the other hand, is given the role of a menacing villain, but in the scenes in which he bursts out of anger or sadness, the performance was somewhat funny. The child actor who played Rajiv’s younger version was much better than the Sarpatta Parambarai hero. Mrinalini Ravi, as Ashmitha, hardly has anything to do. The same was the case with Mamtha Mohandas. Prakash Raj was fine in his role, and Thambi Ramaiah is yet again that eccentric comical dad.
The aspiration of Enemy is to create an ambiance similar to Vikram Vedha. But Anand Shankar is not interested in building characters with depth. Jumping from one chase to another, Enemy is visually agile but emotionally superficial. We are supposed to feel for both characters by the end of the film. But the second half is so clumsy that you will either feel for yourself or the producer.
Vedha. But Anand Shankar is not interested in building characters with depth. Jumping from one chase to another, Enemy is visually agile but emotionally superficial.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended