Enemy of the State (1998)

Enemy of the State (1998)
  • Time: 132 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Mystery
  • Director: Tony Scott
  • Cast: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight


Robert dean is a mild-mannered lawyer who works in Washington D.C. He is on the trail of a kingpin named Pintero. Meanwhile, a politician named Thomas Reynolds is negotiating with Congressman Phillip Hammersley about a new surveillance system with satellites. But, Hammersley declines, that is when Reynolds had Hammersley killed, but this murder was caught on tape, and this person was being chased by Reynolds’ team of NSA agents, the guy must ditch the tape, so he plants it on Dean (unbeknownst to Dean). Then, the NSA decides to get into Dean’s life. That is when Dean’s life began to fall apart all around him, with his wife and job both gone. Dean wants to find out what is going on. Then, he meets a man named “Brill” who tells him that Dean has something that the government wants. That is when Dean and Brill formulate a plan to get Dean’s life back and turn the Tables on Reynolds.


  • “Enemy Of The State” was simply an outstanding movie. From start, to finish, you will be held on the edge of your seat. Fast paced, and action packed, yet still with plenty of depth, plot, storyline, and suspense, this is likely one of my favorites. There are some great chase scenes, and an incredible ending! Will Smith does a great job in this movie, and Gene Hackman also plays very well to make the story accelerated with good tension… Jamie Kennedy and Seth Green were also adorable and I wouldn’t mind being under their surveillance. A recommendation for every fan of the action or thriller genre!

  • For certain aspects in life, there are specific things the average person has no control of. How other individuals interact with each other, how well a piece of operating equipment works or how technology advances itself forward are just a couple of examples. In the current world of today where computers are basically apart of everyone’s lives, it’s not that difficult for someone to find information on another person. All anyone has to do is go to any search engine whether it be Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask etc. and they’ll at least get 2 to 3 webpages about or are connected to them in some way. It’s the scary truth, being on the internet is not always the safest place to be. Looking back on Enemy of the State (1998) it seems that director Tony Scott and writer David Marconi have produced a piece of cinema that is an underrated gem that feels more significant now than it ever was the year it was released.

    The story is about an attorney/family man Robert Dean (Will Smith) being unknowingly jammed into a big government conspiracy about a rouge senator Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) wanting to pass a bill that’ll begin invading the privacy of the US residents. What Dean has that he doesn’t know about is a videotape that a suspect hid in his bag that had visual evidence that Reynolds is behind the killing of congressman Hammersley (Jason Robards) who supported individual privacy. The idea of homeland security has always been a controversial topic since the concept was ever brought to fruition and using that as an undercurrent for the script’s plot was a thought provoking move on Marconi’s part. As stated before with technology being a much bigger proprietor for internet access, the ability to be researched is a lot easier than it was displayed in this movie. Dean ends up being hacked from all directions – his house & mobile phone, home and satellite. Now there’s that, the internet, social media and a slew of other devices that make it easy to track someone.

    Another part about the writing that is effective is how many times Marconi will keep the audience guessing. Every time there’s a point where progress occurs, Marconi writes in an event that creates a new roadblock and a new solution plan has to be made. It’s clever because most scripts are cut and dry with either one or (maybe) two remedies to a problem. This at least has three or four and its uncommon, which is good because it keeps the viewers guessing. The only component to the writing that doesn’t make sense is how a supporting character was able to figure out where the FBI was located. Isn’t the FBI supposed to be covert in their operations? It’s a little weird that their main office doesn’t seem to feel so secret. Other than that, almost every step of execution to this story is woven in such a way that’ll have the viewer on the edge of their seat.

    The acting is well done too. Will Smith as Robert Dean plays his character differently compared to other past roles. Throughout the majority of the running time Smith plays his character like an average family man; humble, respectful, caring and not cocky. Occasionally a small bit of the old-school Will Smith humor arises from the cracks but for the situation he’s put into, sarcasm sometimes feels like it was needed. Tagging along side later on is Gene Hackman as Edward Lyle, an ex-NSA agent who knows the inner workings of the system and provides some frightening insight to how things run inside the government. With Hackman being a lot older, he plays it up as a grumpy man when he’s hungry and although he’s not the nicest sounding, he does care at certain instances. Behind these two are a ton of other cast members consisting of Jason Lee, Scott Caan, Jake Busey, Stuart Wilson, Regina King, Lisa Bonet, Gabriel Byrne, Jack Black, Jamie Kennedy, Larry King, Tom Sizemore and even Seth Green.

    The cinematography provided by Daniel Mindel had a interesting look to it as well. Since this film involves surveillance of various individuals, the camera will have numerous angles to sit at. That means being hidden cameras in various objects, or among the buildings and street property. Then there’s also the satellite tracking cameras that usually fly straight down to the location that’s being focused on and then watching what’s going on from a bird’s eye view. Now obviously, the flying down from space to earth is CGI but after that it looks very real. Mindel later worked on other big budget films like Mission: Impossible III (2006), Star Trek (2009), its sequel and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). The music composed by Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams appropriately has the right mix of synthetic and organic sounding orchestra. There are also two main themes, one for the film and another for Hackman’s character. They are not that memorable but they do show up more than once and that’s good. The action cues aren’t as well developed but they do elevate the experience.

    Besides one plot hole being a bit too noticeable, the rest of the film is fine. The large cast of actors are effective in their roles, the cinematography carries lots of bird’s eye view shots, the music is appropriate and the writing has smart context in its narrative.

    Points Earned –> 8:10

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