The sketchy neighbourhood in the Parisian outskirts where the action of David Oelhoffen’s new film takes place doesn’t offer people much opportunity. The brutal law of “might is right” leaves them with just one choice: join the thugs or hunt them down. The gritty realism of Close Enemies lets us experience the dirty, grey reality of the place in great depth, and from opposite perspectives. On one side there’s Manuel, a drug dealer looking for payback. On the other, his childhood friend who now works as a cop investigating local gangsters. As is customary in this type of cinema, the lines get blurred between what’s good and bad, and what’s morally right and wrong. Following up his 2014 film Far from Men, the French director once again takes on the theme of complicated and ambiguous relationships between red-blooded male protagonists. Oelhoffen’s mastery of the genre is served up with plenty of local flavour, and his directorial talent is matched by outstanding performances from Matthias Schoenaerts and Reda Kated, both well-versed in this type of cinema.
Matthias Schoenaerts, Reda Kateb, Adel Bencherif, Sofiane Zermani, Sabrina Ouazani