Opening 4 Apr 2013
An Enemy to Die For is the fictional story of an international expedition in 1939 heading to the arctic to try and prove Alfred Wegener’s 1912 theory of Continental Drift (which eventually led our understanding of plate tectonics). The crew is made up a German expedition leader Friedrich (Axel Prahl), his assistant Leni (Jeanette Hain), two English scientists Martin and Terrance (Allan Corduner and Tom Burke), a Swedish scientist Gustav (Richard Ulfsäter), a Norwegian captain (Sven Nordin), and a Russian crew. When World War II breaks out, the relaxed atmosphere changes, and everyone has to take a side. Some are following their governments’ orders, others have their own secret agendas, and Gustav has to decide whether the neutrality of his country’s stance on the war trumps the moral consequences of the situations he must face.
While An Enemy to Die For is relatively predictable and not terribly original, it is still a fun romp of a movie. That being said, the script does not do a very adequate job of endearing any of the characters to the viewer, aside from maybe Allan Corduner’s character Martin who often has the best lines. Indeed, the two characters we are most supposed to emphasize with, Leni and Gustav, often are uninspiring or downright unsympathetic. Also, there is an overabundance of clichés and stereotypes that serve to only weaken the film instead of strengthen it.
Despite the flaws of the characterization, it is a truly an engaging piece of fluff cinema. It does not bring anything original or even real to the table, but that doesn’t stop the film from being entertaining. However, it is unfortunate that the opportunity to explore the interesting topic pre-war relationships between educated Europeans from different countries was largely ignored in favor of creating a rather ridiculous action film. Despite all of these issues, it somehow still manages to be entertaining and fun, and perhaps that was all it was ever meant to be. So take the criticism with a grain of a salt, and if you’re in the mood for a fun and cheesy action film, then An Enemy to Die For may be exactly what you’re looking for. (Rose Finlay)