Sharpe's Enemy (TV Movie 1994) Poster

(1994 TV Movie)

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Obadiah Hakeswill, the name just oozes villainy!
grendelkhan30 November 2002
This is my favorite of the Sharpe series. Why, you may ask? Obadiah Hakeswill; it's the perfect name for the most foul of villains. Pete Postlethwaite is wonderful as the evil deserter, rapist, thief and all-around bad egg. From his guttural language to his head twitch, he exudes the greatest villainy this side of Ian Mckellan's Richard III.

Sean Bean is the swashbuckling Sharpe, with Daragh O' Malley as the faithful Sgt. Harper. We have the "Chosen Men" and Captain "Sweet William" Frederickson. What's not to love? OK, Elizabeth Hurley doesn't distinguish herself, but the rest of the principles do, including Feodor Atkine as Major Ducos.

The whole series captures the flavor of the Cornwell books, although some of the battles are fought on smaller scales. Still, the productions make the most of their budgets and score points for character. If you like historical adventure, romance, swashbuckling, or just great character acting, watch these films.
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Sharpe vs. Hakeswill
unbend_54405 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
In Sharpe's Enemy, a group of deserters, led by Sharpe's arch nemesis Obadiah Hakeswill, take over a town and hold two women captive. One woman is the wife of a British officer, the other woman is the wife of a French officer. Sharpe is sent to pay the ransom, but when he arrives, the ransom is increased. Sharpe mounts a rescue attempt, that ultimately concludes in a confrontation between him and Obadiah Hakeswill.

Obadiah Hakeswill is pure evil, and probably the most entertaining character in the Sharpe series. At the end of Sharpe's Company, Hakeswill tried to rape Sharpe's wife. He escaped, and that leads into Sharpe's Enemy. The best way to describe the Sharpe movie series is that it's a collection of individual movies that all can be viewed by themselves. You don't need to start at the beginning. If you want to watch the 9th movie in the series first, it doesn't make a huge difference. The only two movies that I believe work best watching them back to back are Company and Enemy. That way you get the full enjoyment out of the outstanding feud between Sharpe and Hakeswill. I want to say that Sharpe's Enemy is without a doubt my favourite movie in the series. It is superior to all the others on many levels. Instead of this being just another adventure for Sharpe, his story and character really move forward. I love how each movie takes a different approach to developing Sharpe's character. This time you see him as a very honourable man that is tempted by a woman other than his wife. In some of the Sharpe movies I find it hard to accept the new characters that are introduced. Sometimes new characters just don't work, this time they did. I think Sharpe's Enemy has the most solid supporting cast of the series. New characters like Sweet William and Farthingdale are some of the best characters in the story. I actually think Sweet William should've been given more to do. Major Ducos is introduced as a secondary villain, one who's almost the polar opposite of Hakeswill. The movie needed that balance. Ducos continued to appear in future Sharpe movies. I really loved the portrayals of Wellington and Nairn this time. As Sharpe's Enemy got closer to the end, I felt overwhelming anticipation for what was to come. The climax has never been topped. First there's the rescue attempt, which offers real thrilling action. SPOILER AHEAD..... DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT IT SPOILED.......

Then there's the confrontation between Teresa and Obadiah. When I saw this for the first time, I had never read any of the books, so it came as a real shock that they had the guts to kill off Teresa, a major character. The way it's done in this movie is so dramatic. Usually if a movie kills off a character, they tie up all loose ends and give a happy ending to their story. It's never resolved that Sharpe cheated on his wife just before she died, and she never found out, which gives Sharpe some unbelievable character development in the next movie. The way Tom Clegg handled that twist is daring. What was even more satisfying than that is the way Sharpe and Hakeswill's final confrontation plays out. I have occasionally found some of the final duels between Sharpe and his enemies to be unfulfilling. On some of the movies, they resolve matters by a swordfight that's all too brief and brings little closure. Keeping the fate of Hakeswill simple is what impressed me more than anything. It also showed a different and surprising side of Sharpe. Sean Bean shows some of his best acting in the scene where Ducos tells him to surrender the town. Bean barely says a word, but you just understand his character and almost want to cheer by his reaction to Ducos. By this point in the story, I thought it was spectacular. It was an added bonus that there was a final battle still to come. Ducos' arrogance forces the French into an embarrrassing loss, thanks to the Rockets that provided for comic relief early in the movie.

I am shocked that Sharpe's Enemy has one of the lower ratings of the series on IMDb. Sure, a 6.9 is impressive, but it's low compared to some of the other movies. How could Sharpe's Gold have a higher rating? I put Sharpe's Enemy on the same level that most people put Goldfinger on with the James Bond movies. It is head and shoulders above all the others. Sharpe has never topped this movie.
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Sharpe -v- Obidiah Part 2
Scaramouche200420 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In what is arguably the best of the Sharpe series, Richard Sharpe, now promoted Major is sent to secure the release of the wife of an English aristocrat who has been captured by a gang of desperate deserters lead by Sharpe's former Nemesis Obidiah Hakeswell.

Hakeswell is demanding a kings ransom for Lady Farthingdale played by a young Elizabeth Hurley, and he has asked for Sharpe to be the delivery boy so he can exact his ultimate revenge.

Also the town in question is not only the den and haven of the thieves and mutineers but a strategic stronghold, essential to Wellington's advance, and as a result Sharpe and his chosen men not only have the deserters and the hostages to contend with, but the arrival of a large contingent of French troops determined to secure the town for themselves.

Sean Bean and Daragh O'Malley return as Sharpe and Harper, and we see excellent performances by Hugh Fraser as Wellington, Michael Byrne as Major Nairn and Assumpta Serna returning for the final time as Sharpe's wife Teresa Moreno.

However the performance of the film, if not the performance of the entire Sharpe series is given once again to Pete Postlethwaite as the pervertedly evil and twitchy Obidiah Hakeswell, in my opinion one of the most loathsome baddies ever brought to the screen.

Super Swash for your Buckle
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The darker side of swashbuckling
ExpendableMan31 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Sharpe's Enemy, the fourth entry in the Sharpe TV series is one of the more grim outings for the heroic rifleman. And given that previous entries have seen men being flogged by superior officers and blown to bits by artillery, peasant natives being abused by both sides and women getting raped by rampaging soldiers, that's saying something. The early half of the story may be marked by Sharpe's comical encounters with a troop of rocket launchers but when the story gathers apace, things get far darker.

The principle enemy this time you see is neither the French nor the incompetent senior officers, but a battalion of renegades formed by deserters from the English, French, Spanish and Portugese armies who are rampaging across the countryside. Led by a former French cook, these thieves and murderers seize control of a village, butcher the male inhabitants and hold the women hostage, including a pair who happen to be the wives of two very influential men; one a British Colonel, the other a French officer. Sharpe and his men are sent to rescue them where they discover that one of these women is Sharpe's old flame Lady Farthingdale (Elizabeth Hurley) and what's worse, the second in command of the deserters is Obadiah Hakeswill (Pete Postlethwaite), the insane Sergeant who first cropped up in Sharpe's Company where he was responsible for Harper being flogged and Teresa, Sharpe's wife nearly being raped. Twice. So not only does our hero have justice on his mind, he also has revenge.

As can be expected of the Sharpe movies, Enemy is packed to the rafters once again with buxom women, dastardly villains and brutal combat, but this time there's a far seedier undercurrent to the proceedings. As they are fighting their own men, there's a tremendous sense of despair and futility to the war and in the later half, Sharpe engages in some decidedly un-noble behaviour. This is dispelled somewhat by the triumphant clash with a French reconnaissance battalion towards the end, but the uncomfortable climax is marked more prominently by the look of hopelessness etched on Sharpe's face.

It goes without saying of course that Sean Bean is the star of the show. He epitomises the role so effortlessly that it's not surprising he adopted the phrase 'still sharp' as a trademark in later performances and while he may be a brave man, he is nonetheless a flawed one and Bean breathes not only life into Bernard Cornwell's creation but incredible depth as well. The chief complaint thrown at this film is Elizabeth Hurley's performance as Lady Farthingdale, but she handles it reliably well and certainly does a good job, even if playing a big breasted English temptress probably wasn't much of a stretch. Hakeswill sadly doesn't get as much screen time as he did in Sharpe's Company but Postlethwaite uses every second to its full potential. The twitching madman with the thousand yard stare makes a perfect foe and he comes close to stealing the show. However, that honour goes to Philip Whitchurch as Captain 'Sweet' William Frederickson, Sharpe's latest ally. Having been in more battles than the rest of the army combined, Frederickson has so many scars he's more or less falling to pieces and is an engaging, charming presence who you can't help but like.

With its darker approach to the Napoleonic wars than had been seen before, Sharpe's Enemy is one of the best entries the series had. The battle with the French at the ending is a bit of a let down after the bruising close quarters ruck they have with the deserters but its finale is fittingly triumphant, especially as it sets up a delightfully evil French man for Sharpe to come to blows with in later movies. They take a few risks with this chapter but nonetheless, the pay off is well worth it and by the time the credits roll, you'll have experienced one of the most rewarding Sharpe films there is.
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Peter Postlewaite Shines as the yukkiest rapist of all times!
alicecbr22 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Remember that Sir Lawrence Olivier was renown for taking on different looks for every movie? so Pete Postlewaite, one fantastic actor. To have this creep with his facial tics do the horrible things he does in this movie, having flogged Sharpe in some past time and then to have seen him in An Awfully Big Adventure as the kindly uncle ---what a talen!!! I'm a realism freak, so despite the wonderful writing, the most important part of any movie, there were a few too many 'Enter on cue'. "But Sharpe, we don't HAVE any cavalry".....He nods and in they come. The scene with Ducot, also an excellent actor in which the glasses are broken is exquisite. But, here's the rub: Sharpe is supposed to be a hero: yet even though you're made quite aware that he's in love with his wife, guess what he does with the whore, Elisabeth (breasts not real) Hurley? I didn't think Clinton should have been impeached for such adolescent breaches in morality, but to have Sharpe commit adultery: No, no, a thousand times no!!!! And then.....but I don't want to be a spoiler, it just makes the act worse.

The scenery is gorgeous, supposedly Portugal, but really up where England had a war once, and the "Valley of Death" where 10,000 English soldiers died is where it was filmed, somewhere around Afghanistan and the Kyber Pass.

"Sweet William" the hairless, toothless, eyeless top notch soldier is portrayed exquisitely. You can understand why the series continued. And, yes, Darrah O'Malley is much sexier than people give him credit for, and having seen him in 'Withnail and I', it made him much funnier.

But have you noticed? When guys play sinister scenes with up close hostility such as between Ducot and Sharpe, there's almost a homoerotic quality about it. Don't understand this, but the emotions must be similar. We'll have to ask the actors.
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Another classy performance
WileE6 February 2000
Oncer again, Sharpe's Enemy allows our hero Richard Sharpe, along with his Rifles in support, to save the day.

A somewhat contrived plot does not help, but some excellent acting saves the day. Not, one might add, from a certain Liz Hurley! The tragic events towards the end add a poignancy to the Sharpe series that had not really been present before, although this is superbly counter-balanced by the humour of Sharpe's promotion.

Not the best episode, but definitely up there as a strong showing, before the ravages of Jane beguiled our hero.
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