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My Best Enemy (Mein bester Feind)

Movie Details

  • Genre: Drama
  • Running Time: 109 min.
  • Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
  • Cast: Moritz Bleibtreu, Georg Friedrich, Udo Samel, Marthe Keller, Ursula Strauss, Marcello De Nardo, Serge Falck
  • Writer: Paul Hengge

Getting even is wearying in My Best Enemy, a banal World War II thriller dependent on contrived role reversals. Victor Kaufmann (Moritz Bleibtreu), the son of a Jewish gallery owner, meets his estranged Aryan friend Rudi Smekal (Georg Friedrich) as a would-be benefactor. But that stilted power dynamic abruptly shifts after Rudi helps the Nazis to seize Victor's family’s property-- and send them to concentration camps. Even after that, Rudi and Victor continue to betray each other, as Rudi needs Victor to help him locate a rare Michelangelo drawing that Victor's father hid from the Nazis. So much of My Best Enemy is a variation on the following pattern: 1) Resourceful Victor gains power over sniveling Rudi and then abuses that power while mocking his reluctant companion; 2) Rudi gains the upper hand and does the same; 3) Go back to 1. All this is ostensibly justified in a scene in which, after Nazis mistake Rudi for Victor and subsequently beat Rudi up, Victor admits that he understands why Rudi likes being a Nazi, but director Wolfgang Murnberger and his co-writer Paul Hengge do nothing to flesh out their provocative themes.

Simon Abrams

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