Let this film stand as a lesson to all of you young writers and filmmakers – not everything needs to make complete and total sense for entertainment to be engaging. That being said, I approach most things in life knowing that I have equivalent intelligence to the average rock in your garden, so perhaps you'll watch James Dubbeldam's "Your Worst Enemy" and see it in a completely different light than I did. For me, I felt like I was fully entertained but had no real clue as to what this particular film was trying to communicate. Not every piece of art we're ever going to see is going to 'say something' – sometimes the goal really is to entertain and nothing more…and if that's the case here, then high-five from me for a mission accomplished. That said, it does feel like "Your Worst Enemy" is attempting to make some larger point, but I fear whatever that is, likely escaped me.
You've got Mia, in multiple forms, played by Leilani Gobaleza without using a single word. That probably puts us, viewers, at a slight disadvantage when it comes to fully understanding any concept - when using an approach like that. But it's not entirely impossible, either. I felt like Leilani's expressions and emotions came through well, and if there is any confusion regarding what we see in "Your Worst Enemy," it's not part of what she's communicating to us. Any questions we'd have about this film would fully surround the storyline itself, pure and simple. But ask yourself sincerely – how many other movies and films have you watched and been entertained by - that don't wholly seem to add up in the way they move from point A to point B? Probably TONS if you're being honest – it happens all the time. We're wired to accept things we can't quite make sense of more often than not, and just because I don't personally understand something doesn't automatically equate to me not enjoying the time I've spent watching something. "Your Worst Enemy" is genuinely entertaining, even if I didn't 'get it' all – you might, and therefore, you might get that much more out of it.
I really enjoyed the stylistic way this film was shot, and I'd consider that one of its main strengths. You've got clever split-screen scenes of Mia, which imply half of a personality, I'd assume - is based on the reality she knows, and perhaps the other represents a person that she seems to wish she could be more like. Again, these are just theories – I could be way off base here. What little experience I have with Dubbeldam's movies has quickly taught me to pay close attention…this dude tends to work with layers of ideas inside of a singular concept, and it does take some thought on the part of the viewer to keep up with where he's going, especially in the case of "Your Worst Enemy."
You might also recognize the other main cast member, Nathalie Soto Cuzin, who plays a clothing vendor on the beach's boardwalk in this film - and who recently starred in another Dubbeldam production called "I Am ____." While the character she plays isn't as involved as what I'd seen her in last, the role itself does play a part in moving the plotline of "Your Worst Enemy" forward. As the film continues, you'll start to wonder whether or not there are two Mias, perhaps moving on separate timelines in some multi-verse, or if there's only ever been one, and we're simply witnessing two parts of her personality. The answer will never become crystal clear as far as I can tell, and I've watched "Your Worst Enemy" a couple of times. What makes it quite wonderful in its own way is that we don't really need to have an answer to that at all. "Your Worst Enemy" is the kind of film that's actually a lot of fun to theorize about, and part of its allure is that you could have a completely different theory than my own or anyone else who would watch it. We're bound to draw different conclusions about what we see in a film like this, but in my opinion, that's a good thing – it stirs debate, and more importantly, we don't feel indifferent about what we see. It's not purposeless or meaningless – that's what I'm saying.
None of us might completely understand what "Your Worst Enemy" is truly attempting to communicate, but that doesn't seem to hinder its ability to keep us entertained whatsoever. I dig the unique camera angles that are used and the way that it moves from shot to shot. I dig the use of colorization and the settings we see onscreen, and even though I might not feel like I could personally connect the dots of this semi-mystery film, the suspense, mood, and tone seemed to come through perfectly. Would "Your Worst Enemy" benefit from having a whole lot more time to expand on this idea than its short timeframe allows? In this instance, I have to vote yes on that…I really think that it would. Rarely, if ever, is there going to be an example of a film, movie, or show that deals with the multi-verse of parallel dimensions - going to have enough time to make things make sense, even in a feature-length scenario. So I'm realistic in the sense that I feel like I got most of what "Your Worst Enemy" is about conceptually with the whole idea of facing fears and such, but also equally understanding that more time would have helped a story like this one become more tangible.
I did enjoy it, though. Dubbeldam has a steady grip on the kind of films he wants to make, and I like the choices he makes in his casting. Leilani did a solid job with the material she had, and considering she never utters a single word, I think she put in a really commendable performance. All-in-all, however, I gotta call things as I see 'em and give you an idea as best I can of what you'd be in store for, which has me giving "Your Worst Enemy" three stars out of five. I believe this short flick needed a whole lot more time to make the idea connect in a way we'd all understand, but it is entertaining nonetheless - a solid short film.