Who Needs EnemiesCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Who Needs Enemies begins ominously to the sound of birds squawking, a dead body, and a reading from Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Set in modern-day London, this British crime thriller, and debut feature from writer/director Peter Stylianou, tells a tale of drugs, violence, and revenge. What makes it stand out as searingly relevant to today is its theme of paedophilia.
After discovering that his oldest friend Ian (played by a particularly slippery Michael McKell) has used his strip club to entertain wealthy paedophiles, Tom (Ian Pirie) decides to seek retribution. Instead of calling the police, Tom loses it and starts attacking people with a big stick. Obviously annoyed by this, and the fact that Tom has obtained photographic evidence of the night, Ian decides to retaliate. Cue big bruiser Chris (Kris Johnson) who thumps around thuggishly while swearing his head off, wet fish Tony (Tom Carey) and, finally, our dead man Mark (Glen Fox). But whose side is each one actually on?
In terms of action, things don’t really get going, or good for that matter, until Chapter Three – Olav’s House – where we meet our child trafficker (Nick Lavelle) and his large wife (Donna Preston) who, although silent, stirs her pot of goulash excellently. At this point it is revealed that the source of the night’s entertainment is actually little girls, each of whom Olav sells for £2,000 a night, except one who is rejected for looking unwell. Instead of actually seeing the children, a silhouette of a dancing figure shimmers across the screen, followed by a flash of a little girl’s milky white teeth.
If one makes it through the first two chapters, ignoring the fairly unconvincing plot and overall dreary characters, Who Needs Enemies is actually quite enjoyable. Together with some stunning cinematic shots (a fairground at dusk, cars speeding through a tunnel, a shot from underwater) the way the story unfolds is what makes the film. That and some hilarious, laugh out loud gags (“I could murder a coffee,” Chris says, having just murdered Mark, and “Let the man rest in peace,” Tony protests to his wife, who is under the impression that dead man Mark is actually passed out drunk).
Who Needs Enemies is released nationwide on 15th November 2013.
Watch the trailer for Who Needs Enemies here: