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Florent-Emilio Siri initially wanted to shoot in Kabylie, where the story is set, but gave up on the idea and set his eyes on Morocco when he realized the region didn't have any infrastructure capable of handling a big shoot such as this one. See more »
When the platoon is ambushed, the radio operator reports that they are being fired upon by MG-42s, which are captured German machine guns from the Second World War. These machine guns have a high rate of fire and produce a different sound than that edited into the film. See more »
L'Ennemi Intime is simply a non-movie. What does it take to dish out such an unidentifiable cinematographic object? Producer blindness, too proud to see the vacuum in the project, too proud to have it challenged by some trustworthy colleague.
L'Ennemi Intime first (digital) shot sets it all : it is not linked with the beginning of narration and the only purpose is to have the movie title pompously emerge from the horizon. Let's forget it. What's the story? A French platoon is stuck in the middle of The Undeclared War in Algeria. It's not really that they are stuck but there's a sensation they're alone to fight an (oh so) absurd war. Actually they are the French colonial power struggling against the ever elusive rebel forces who will fight to death for their freedom, for Algerian independence.
The subtext is clear if you know this part of History, yet the political aspect is buried under the makeshift of a script, I mean the episodic screenplay... well, let's say it more bluntly: the treatment in pictures.
Would you believe the storyline is only made of a series of missions that are loosely connected (fight the rebels round the corner)? What else? Nothing. The pitched opposition between the idealistically young Lieutenant and the experienced tough Sergeant is not an opposition, only an easy-going working relationship. Lieutenant Terrien (Magimel) is a bland character with no character arc whatsoever, Sergeant Dougnac (Dupontel) is basically more interesting but nothing interesting happens to him after the opening sequence before Terrien is brought in to helm the bunch.
Except for a couple of French-Algerian characters there's almost nobody to root for. The absence of story is all the more palpable as locations are great and the cinematography is excellent. In the end there's a gigantic gap between the graphical aspirations of the director and the inaction imposed over by the script.
Obviously the idea was to team up a promising director (Siri) who would deliver the images and a documentary screenwriter (Rotman) who would deliver the contents (historical and controversial yet accurate). The problem is Siri is light on screen-writing and only understands action while Rotman is overwhelmed by his historical knowledge and doesn't know how to write fiction (i.e. loosen the ties of historical accuracy to tell an engaging story featuring interesting fictional characters).
BOTTOM LINE. Cinematography and locations: excellent. All the rest is not worth watching.
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