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  • Writer's pictureElsa Ryder

[Review] “A Perfect Enemy” Visualizes Guilt Through Mind-Bending Realities

From Catalonian Director Kike Maíllo, A Perfect Enemy is a cerebral psychological thriller following an accomplished architect who becomes the subject of interest to a mysterious female traveler.

Athena Strates and Tomasz Kot | Brainstorm Media

A Perfect Enemy follows successful Polish architect Jeremiasz Angust (Tomasz Kot) who shares a taxi with a rambunctious, talkative young woman after leaving a conference in Paris. Texel Textor (Athena Strates) is her name and she begins to share oddly personal, dark stories from her past, immediately bringing discomfort to Angust. Regardless of her eccentricity, Angust is able to visualize her stories within his mind, accidentally adding his own personal elements to his mental manifestations. As her stories progress into deeper and darker territories involving deadly outcomes, Angust comes to suspect their encounter was no coincidence. After multiple attempts to escape Texel’s disturbing chattiness within the confines of the airport lounge, he finds that her persistence holds a greater, more sinister purpose.

Athena Strates and Tomasz Kot | Brainstorm Media

Angust is a likable protagonist, first introduced to viewers while giving an inspirational speech. He is strong, silent, good looking and visibly dedicated to his career as a successful architect. The very Paris airport featured within the film is a product of his professional achievements. Texel is harder for viewers to identify with. She’s loud and abrasive while somehow remaining annoyingly ambiguous and purposefully elusive. Through her psychotically mysterious demeanor and mannerisms, Strate’s performance as Texel provides both chills and questions as to who she is, and more importantly, what she wants from Angust. Her persistent chattiness will make the viewer empathize with Angust in terms of wanting to get out of her clutches as soon as possible.

Marta Nieto | Brainstorm Media

When submerged so deep into the psyche, guilt is a part of us that can manifest in several different ways that may not be clear at first glance. A Perfect Enemy poses the question - Can some of the darkest moments from our past ever truly fade away? Director Kike Maíllo offers a physical manifestation of guilt through the characters of Angust and Texel, along with their progressively suspenseful time together at the airport. Both characters wear a Jungian mask that hides their true persona. Through twists, turns, and dialogue, the plot provokes a series of questions that will partially be answered, partially left up to interpretation. A Perfect Enemy succeeds at blurring the fine line between the literal and the metaphor.

Athena Strates and Tomasz Kot | Brainstorm Media

Stated as a co-production between France, Spain and Germany A Perfect Enemy was filmed in Barcelona, Spain and received a Best Motion Picture nomination at the Sitges Film Festival in Catalonia. It is based on the 2001 novel “The Enemy's Cosmetique” by Amélie Nothomb.


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