ENOUGH

Directed by Michael Apted. USA. 2002.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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I think that something thatís important on your path to self-discovery is realizing your faults. (Not you specifically of course. That person sitting next to you, thatís who Iím talking about.) I am quite aware of mine; the fact that I am (in PC terms) ďromantically challenged.Ē There is quite likely no dating mistake that I havenít made. Iíve done the ďattempt to change himĒ all the way to ďheís stable, funny, and good looking. Canít go out with that.Ē I have all the female intuition of a doorstop. And after watching Enough I have come to an all important recommendation to every single woman out there:
 
Get a Screening Committee.


As my idea of having both genders legally required to admit whatís wrong with them on the first date hasnít yet taken off, I think a screening committee is the next logical step. Two or three protective, intimidating looking men with a standardized list of questions for your potential suitor. (1. Are you insane?) Either that, or you could do what most have after watching this movie, and quite logically decide that you will only date those you are not attracted to, as the most engaging man in the film is, in fact, the creepiest person ever.

Enough. All Rights Reserved.Enough tells the story of Slim, a waitress who thinks sheíll never fall in love. Until a chivalrous act leads her to Mitch, a knight in shining armour. But all is not as it seems, as one discovery after another leads her to realize just how little she knows about her husband/father of her child. To say nothing of his dangerous, darker side.

Jennifer Lopez (Out of Sight, Selena) plays Slim. Here, Lopez has created a very engaging character. Looking around the theatre while Slim was trying to deal with her husbandsí newfound attributes, I saw at least five heads nodding in agreement with her frustrations. Lopez does an exceptional job at making those terrible moments real, with layers of disbelief and resignation overriding anger. Lopez makes Slim a strong woman, refusing to stay in a bad marriage, taking her daughter to (she hopes) something better. I think a large part of Lopezí appeal lies in the fact that she is so instantly likeable that she makes the audience want to help her, and be friends with her. A very sympathetic performance.

Bill Campbell (The Rocketeer, Bram Stokerís Dracula) plays Slimís abusive husband Mitch. He has done an eerily good job. After all, Campbell has got such an innocent face, that were you to pass him on the street, you might simply assume that he was a grown up Gerber baby food model. It is not only his acting talents, but also the fact that he looks like the sweetest man alive that makes him so effective in this role. His swift transition from loving partner to sadistic twerp makes him all the more terrifying, making the point that his type of behaviour could be hiding behind anyone. (Rows of people were actually pushing themselves backwards in their chairs to obtain the maximum allowable distance from Campbell.) The thing that I donít get, is though the role of Mitch is a bold career move for this actor, his fan base is composed almost entirely of women who love him as the sweetheart. When Campbellís fans think of him, most generally they have fleeting images of him with a rocket pack strapped to him, or have thoughts of his amorous role on Once and Again spring to mind. He has done such an effective job here as the creep that those who love him as the ardent suitor may think twice about indulging in his next outing. 

Enough. All Rights Reserved.The thing that differentiates Enough from most of the revenge movies out there is itís frank examination of the darker side of the psyche, just how far youíll go when pushed. I am all for that. After all, itís the movies that make you think, that keep you talking, that turn into classics of their genre. The problem here is that for the self examination to work Enough also needed to blaze another beacon; that of ďViolence is NOT a superb problem solving method.Ē It doesnít. Enough spends itís first hour and a half setting up the characters of Slim and Mitch as Good vs Evil. Slim is trying to escape this awful man, and save her daughter from a terrible life. Then, as she realizes that she canít outrun him, she begins training in self defence for his eventual arrival. Again, great. I am also all for movies that shout out ďStand up for yourself!!Ē which is something that Enough is truly trying to say. The first hour and a half made Slim into an admirable character. She was brave, strong and smart. She would have had to have been to survive with a maniac like Mitch on her tail. The first hour and a half sets her up as a character to root for. I found myself thinking ďFANTASTIC!! A movie with a woman whoís going to refuse to be a damsel in distress.Ē I think training to defend yourself in case of psychopath (as she did) is a good idea. However, all this excellent set up is lost in the final act of the film. (Have no fear, Iím not about to give away anything not seen in the trailers.) The final act of the film does not feature Mitch breaking into Slimís home and endangering her as the tagline would suggest, it in fact has Slim stalking Mitch, breaking into his home, waiting for him to return from work, and then attacking him. This in my opinion, lowers her character to the level of his. What makes her following him any different from him pursuing her? They both had the same intentions; to kill the other. Enoughís tag line boasts proudly that ďself defence is not murder,Ē then proceeds to show itís heroine committing the first degree version of same. Some people have stated that Enough is a message movie, designed to get across the hope for the eradication of violence against women. I think thatís a mighty idea. I too am hopeful that violence against women can be eliminated. But, while I am hopeful of that, I am also hopeful that all violence can be done away with completely  as a method of dealing with issues, and unfortunately the only moral message that this movie delivers with any smack (if youíll pardon the pun) at all is that in order to get what you want, go beat the tar out of someone. If only this movie had seen the set up through to itís inevitable conclusion it would have been a ridiculously frightening thriller. By missing the point itís lowered to the level of offensive. What a waste of fine actors. 

Jen Johnston
 
 
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