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A mixed portrayal of 1990s Algeria,
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This review is from: Enough [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
An inconsistent, but sporadically excellent tale of repression, politics and friendship, 'Enough!' excels in its portrayal of the dynamics of gender politics and its evocation of the long struggle of Algeria, but technical flaws and an unnecessary slowness of pace mean that the film never reaches its true potential. 'Enough!' focuses on the search for a missing husband, whom has been kidnapped due to a subversive piece of journalism he has published. Searching for the husband are his wife, the quietly troubled (yet increasingly impulsive) Amel (Rachida Brakni) and her friend Khadidja (a fantastic performance from Fettouma Bouamari), a kind, ageing woman, grown cynical by the struggles she has seen her nation witness. Through Khadidja, - in particular her dealings with the corrupt Hadj Slimani, a former friend and activist during the French occupation, but now a corrupt foe - the film poses intriguing questions about the history, present and future of Algeria, a probing helped by Boumari's masterful performance. The contrast between this corruption and the kindness of much of Algerian society is also depicted in the film, through an elderly, unnamed man with a troubled past who helps the women on their search for Amel's missing husband. These factors are well-handled in 'Enough!', and a well-written script (albeit a little short on dialogue), and generally strong performances are all factors which will impress the viewer.
'Enough!', however, is undoubtedly flawed. Perhaps the film's biggest issue is its cinematography. A number of the film's scenes are shot in near pitch-black darkness, and whilst that might add to realism, it means that it is difficult to garner anything in terms of character reactions, backdrop, or to create any real tension or mood. This is frustrating, and even putting my TV's colour up to full improved this very little. Equally, the film's pacing is too slow, meaning that there are lulls where there is fairly little in terms of character development or action, and in patches 'Enough!' became a bit boring, something not helped by the rather weak characterisation of Amel (and whilst Rachida Brakni's performance is okay, it certainly isn't one of the film's standout turns); her part being poorly written in comparison to those of the film's other major characters. At its best, 'Enough!' proves itself to be dramatic, to be moving, and to be intelligent in its portrayal of Algeria's long suffering, but the film frustrates almost as much as it impresses, meaning that whilst 'Enough!' is worth watching for fans of world cinema, at times it does feel like a missed opportunity.