Enemy of the State is a frightening movie, where an out-of-control government is tracking our every move, listening to our phone calls, reading our emails, tracking our movements by tracking retail purchases, looking at us through surveillance cameras. What’s truly frightening is that, from the time this movie was made to the present — the government is now admitting that yes, all of those things are being done … for our “protection”, of course.
One central question that this movie brings up, and has yet to be answered in real life, is: what happens when an unscrupulous government employee decides to abuse this vast amount of information? In Enemy of the State, Will Smith’s character finds out, as a high-ranking NSA official (Jon Voight) targets him after Smith unintentionally has evidence to tie him to a murder. And Smith’s only possible help is Gene Hackman, a paranoid former NSA researcher, who frankly has been living “off the grid” in hiding from the NSA, for simply knowing too much — and has very little incentive to help Will Smith’s character.
The acting is exceptional, the film is riveting and quick-paced, and is frankly one of the rare examples of an action film that gives the audience things to think about after the movie ends. An excellent film, that’s highly recommended.
Product Description of Enemy of the State
Hot Hollywood favorite Will Smith (Men In Black, Independence Day) stars with Academy Award(R)-winner Gene Hackman (Best Actor, Unforgiven, 1992, The French Connection, 1971) in a high-powered suspense thriller where nonstop action meets cutting-edge technology. Robert Clayton Dean (Smith) is a successful Washington, D.C., attorney who — without his knowledge — is given a video that ties a top official of the National Security Agency (Oscar(R)-winner Jon Voight, Best Actor, 1978, COMING HOME) to a political murder. Instantly, every aspect of Dean’s once-normal life is targeted by a lethal team of skilled NSA surveillance operatives, who wage a relentless, ultra-high-tech campaign to discredit him and retrieve the incriminating evidence. Also featuring Regina King (Jerry Maguire, Boyz N the Hood) in an impressive, star-studded cast — get ready for the action to explode as Dean desperately races to reclaim his life and prove his innocence before it’s too late.
Editorial review of Enemy of the State courtesy of Amazon.com
Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a lawyer with a wife and family whose happily normal life is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a college buddy (Jason Lee) at a lingerie shop. Unbeknownst to the lawyer, he’s just been burdened with a videotape of a congressman’s assassination. Hot on the tail of this tape is a ruthless group of National Security Agents commanded by a belligerently ambitious fed named Reynolds (Jon Voight). Using surveillance from satellites, bugs, and other sophisticated snooping devices, the NSA infiltrates every facet of Dean’s existence, tracing each physical and digital footprint he leaves. Driven by acute paranoia, Dean enlists the help of a clandestine former NSA operative named Brill (Gene Hackman), and Enemy of the State kicks into high-intensity hyperdrive.
Teaming up once again with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun director Tony Scott demonstrates his glossy style with clever cinematography and breakneck pacing. Will Smith proves that there’s more to his success than a brash sense of humor, giving a versatile performance that plausibly illustrates a man cracking under the strain of paranoid turmoil. Hackman steals the show by essentially reprising his role from The Conversation–just imagine his memorable character Harry Caul some 20 years later. Most of all, the film’s depiction of high-tech surveillance is highly convincing and dramatically compelling, making this a cautionary tale with more substance than you’d normally expect from a Scott-Bruckheimer action extravaganza. —Jeremy Storey