To compare My Best Enemy to ‘Allo ‘Allo would, depending on your predilection towards either article, either be strangely fitting or grossly insulting. But moments of this tragic, funny, dark, breezy film about Nazism and the plight of the Jews can’t help but remind viewers of a certain age of that old TV show in which the Nazis searched in vain for The Fallen Madonna (with the big boobies).
The film seems to start as a bromance, with the return of the prodigal friend Rudi to Victor’s social circle. Victor, a Jew, is surprised to learn that his friend has joined the nascent Nazi party, but Rudi promises to help him and his family. When it’s revealed that Victor’s wealthy family has something the Nazis want, Rudi’s loyalties become muddied and, through a misunderstanding, their friendship reaches breaking point.
In a very subtle and realistic way, Victor comes to hold in his hands the ability to end the Axis and prevent the war altogether. It’s through his own cunning and ingenuity that the second half of this film runs like a fairytale in which the beaten, tortured Jew and his Nazi captor switch roles and prove that it’s the uniform that holds the power in any authoritarian regime, not the man inside it.
My Best Enemy is amusing and saddening but isn’t very memorable. It’s shot like a TV movie and the performances, while serviceable, aren’t anything spectacular. The plot is very well hung together and it feels like an unfolding story as opposed to a series of vignettes pasted together, like so many other war movies. It’s testament to the power of the story, and its effective treatment, that the film can succeed as much as it does without the need for stunning cinematography, or great performances. It’s a good script and it’s well-made, if slightly underwhelming.
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