Enemy of the State

It's not paranoia if they're really after you.

Action Drama Thriller
132 min     6.978     1998     USA

Overview

A hotshot Washington criminal lawyer becomes the target of a rogue security executive videotaped in the act of murdering a congressman when the incriminating tape is surreptitiously slipped into his shopping bag by the videographer, who is fleeing the executive's assassins.

Reviews

YouShouldKnow wrote:
What was just a movie then is quickly becoming reality now. With the erosion of our rights and privacy online, this movie should have served as a harbinger of a world we do not want to live in. We are introduced to the same arguments politicians, the wealthy and the agencies brought forth after the terror attacks we endured. The exact same rhetoric is used in this film ("if you have nothing to hide..."). At times, it looks like the real world emulates fiction or worse, this film was a blue print. From a protagonist unaware or unwilling to see the state of affairs, who's unwittingly caught in the path of bad guys, to what might then have been a tinfoil hat wearing, paranoid conspiracy theorist, but would now (post Snowden) be a a very concerned citizen, this film has what it needs to tell a good story. What's great too is the ending, which is bittersweet. It reflects pretty well what goes on in the highest spheres where the working class has little to no influence. All in all, a great film for everybody.
Wuchak wrote:
Fast-paced surveillance-oriented action/thriller with Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight RELEASED IN 1998 and directed by Tony Scott, "Enemy of the State” is an action/crime/thriller starring Will Smith as a DC lawyer who unknowingly apprehends evidence of a serious crime involving a formidable politician (Jon Voight) and is subsequently targeted by his NSA goons (Jack Black, Seth Green, etc.) and heavies (Scott Caan, Jake Busey, etc.). He ultimately partners with an ex-NSA surveillance curmudgeon (Gene Hackman). The quick-editing is akin to other popular action flicks of the era, like “Armageddon” (1998), but it’s done expertly and there are enough lulls in the relentless action and character-developing moments to prevent it from being overkill. The surveillance element and Hackman bring to mind Coppola’s “The Conversation” (1974), but the story moves way faster, has more thrills and the characters are more interesting. Lisa Bonet (Jason Momoa’s babe) is stunning as the protagonist’s secret connection and former woman-on-the-side while Regina King is capable as the wife. There are several teases of ravishing women on the periphery. This is a gripping, action-packed thriller that has quality characters and is entertaining throughout. The creators took the time & effort to throw in inspired little gems, like “Baby” the friendly orange & white cat (I have a cat just like him). Smith and Hackman have great conflict-habituated but respectful camaraderie. THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours, 12 minutes and was shot in Baltimore & Phoenix, Maryland; Washington DC; and Southern Cal (L.A., West Hollywood and Pasadena). WRITER: David Marconi. GRADE: A-
John Chard wrote:
The government's been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the forties. They've infected everything. Enemy of the State is directed by Tony Scott and written by David Marconi. It stars Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King and Lisa Bonet. Music is by Harry Gregson-Williams and Trevor Rabin, and cinematography by Dan Mindel. A lawyer becomes targeted by a corrupt politician and his N.S.A. goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a politically motivated murder. Superb action thriller, we find Tony Scott on fine story telling form, backed up by Smith (how great to see the actor and not the star) and the always awesome Hackman adding his character driven gravitas to the stew. We are frighteningly drawn into a very real hi-tech world, which in turns becomes thought provoking and intriguing. Scott knows how to work an action scene and edge of the seat sequences, and he doesn't disappoint here. The running time of 2 hours 10 minutes is arguably a touch too much, but there is never any moments of extraneous sequences or pointless filler, the screenplay ensures that all conversations and character activities mean something, and therefore should be noted. A hot buck roll call of rising actors are in on the fun, namely Barry Pepper, Scott Caan, Jake Busey, Jamie Kennedy and Jack Black, which leaves us with a smart and thrilling pic that's served at a breakneck pace. Enemy of the State delivers wholesome genre entertainment. 9/10
CinemaSerf wrote:
Poor Jason Lee ("Zavitz") has only the smallest of parts in this film, yet in the few minutes he is on screen (before he is squished in a road accident) he manages to dump unsuspecting lawyer "Dean" (Will Smith) into an whole world of pain. Why? Well we already know what happened regarding the mysterious death of "Congressman Hammersley" (Jason Robards) but unfortunately for the killers, a video camera used for monitoring bird life caught them in the act. "Zavitz" managed to pass the tape to "Dean" and soon the considerable resources of the NSA are shutting down his credits cards, testing his already precariously balanced marriage and setting him up for a fall as they desperately try to retrieve this incriminating evidence. Luckily, though, he alights on maverick "Lyle" (Gene Hackman) and they start to come up with a strategy to fight back and trap their nemesis "Reynolds" (Jon Voight). There are a few sub-plots - but essentially this is just a vehicle for Will Smith to do what he always does and there is nothing remarkable about that. Hackman joins late and does inject a little class into this otherwise by-the-numbers political thriller that serves as a conspiracy theorist's wet dream and sees Voight just reminding me of his "Mission Impossible" (1996) persona. I did quite like the premiss of the ending, but it really bordered on the spoof upon execution. Nobody can sustain it for 2¼ hours, it sags often and even the tag-team pursuit scenes and the slowest self-destruct sequence I think I've ever seen really don't invigorate it. Watchable on the television on a wet winter's night, but nothing more memorable than that I'm afraid.

Cast

Similar