Enemy Lines

Ed Westwick in Enemy Lines
Verdict: 
4/10 - Director Anders Banke fails to fully harness the talents of his cast in this generic and predictable WWII drama.
Release Date: 
Monday, May 4, 2020
Written by: 

Enemy Lines follows an American officer and British commando squad as they race to find a Polish scientist amid World War II.

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Not to be confused with 2001's Behind Enemy Lines, Ed Westwick's latest movie is very much a World War II drama.

Directed by Swedish filmmaker Anders Banke from a screenplay by Michael Wright, Enemy Lines is set in November 1943 and follows Westwick's Major Kaminski, an American soldier with Polish heritage, as he is enlisted by Colonel Preston (John Hannah) and General McCloud (Corey Johnson) to undertake a covert mission in occupied Poland.

Joined by four British commandos - Sergeant Will Davidson (Tom Wisdom), Corporal John Waites (Gary Grant), Private Ben Lee (Scott Haining), and Private Mick Cooper (Daniel Jillings) - the squad is tasked with locating a sought-after Polish rocket scientist named Dr. Alexander Fabien (Pawel Delag), who is known to be holding secret information that could prove critical to the Allied efforts, and freeing him from Nazi captivity.

After navigating a treacherous boat trip, the crew sets about scaling a German-held territory, and ends up relying on brute force and the element of surprise to break in.

But while it may not have been particularly difficult to extract Dr. Fabien, they didn't realise he'd insist on bringing his adolescent daughter with him too, with the added person complicating their escape route through a snow-covered forest in winter.

Of course, the problems don't end there, and not only are the Nazis on their tails, but also a Russian team, led by Petrov (Vladimir Epifantsev), who also want to get hold of Dr. Fabien.

 

A series of shootouts and generic action sequences ensue as the crew attempt to navigate their way to the agreed meeting place, with some of the combat depicted proving to be quite violent.

Yet, rather oddly, the many deaths shown in Enemy Lines are not dwelled upon for very long, and even the tragic passing of a supporting character is barely given a second thought.

There is also a baffling lack of tension in the lead-up to key moments, particularly in what should have been the climactic combat scene in the third act.

Westwick delivers an entirely stoic performance, pulling out his American accent from his Gossip Girl days, and doing his best to convey the sense of hard-nosed bravery required from all those involved in wartime missions.

Elsewhere, Hannah injects some gravitas to the background scenarios, while Delag offers some intrigue as the terrified scientist at the centre of the plot.

To his credit, Banke does attempt to include some more creative shots depicting the soldiers amid their icy surroundings in the film, which was shot in Belarus, and composer Philippe Jakko provides a rather cinematic soundtrack.

But, unfortunately, neither of these can save Enemy Lines from its entirely cliched dialogue and predictable conclusion.

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