As I mentioned in my review of eXistenZ, any movie regarding technology
or computers usually shows that technology doing things that it simply
cannot do. In the case of Enemy of the State, I'm not sure if the computers
can do those things they're shown doing or not. If they can, we're all
in big trouble.
of the State (1998)
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, and
When New York Congressman Phillip Hammersley (Jason Robards) turns up
dead, everyone assumes its because of his heart condition. Everyone except
animal migration expert Daniel Zavitz (Jason Lee). By chance, the camera
he used to monitor the Canadian geese in a park outside of Washington,
D.C. captured the murder of Congressman Hammersley at the hands of NSA
director Reynolds (Jon Voight). One of Reynolds' cronies spots Zavitz
removing the videotape from the camera and alerts those who may be endangered
by its contents. Reynolds moves to have Zavitz eliminated.
Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a successful labor lawyer. He's working on
a case involving mafia influence on a union contract dispute when his
life is suddenly turned upside down by a chance encounter with Daniel
Zavitz in a store. Zavitz, who is being chased by the renegade feds, slips
Dean a copy of the tape with the incriminating video. Dean is unaware
of this transaction. The NSA goons, however, tap in to the store's security
cameras and see the tape slipped into Dean's bags. The feds attempt to
retrieve the tape from Dean by visiting his home and asking for it. Dean,
attempting to defend himself against illegal search and seizure, declines
to let them have the tape. In doing so, he sets the wheels in motion for
one of the most interesting techno movies in recent memory.
of the State shows the government doing a lot of things it may
or may not be able to do. Things like listening into phone calls instantly,
tracking individual people from satellites, monitoring someone's every
movement via tracking devices, and so forth. As I said, I don't know if
the government really can do everything that is shown in this film and,
if they can, we're all in trouble. However, my job is to review the movie
and that I shall do.
Will Smith is excellent in this semi-serious role. He is allowed to display
his highly charismatic personality as well as do some real acting. I'd
like to see him in this type of role more often. Gene Hackman, as a man
who eventually comes to help Will Smith's character, is also quite good
as an abrasive former NSA agent. Jon Voight is particularly slimy as Reynolds,
the loose cannon in the NSA.
The movie provides a great setup for the action that follows and never
becomes overly confusing or technical. Movies with a lot of high-tech
gadgetry and techno-speak can easily alienate an audience who have to
decipher a glossary of terms before chewing on the plot. Here that's not
a problem due to an intelligent script by David Marconi and brisk direction
by Tony Scott. The climax is a bit disappointing in its convenience but,
overall, the movie comes to a satisfying conclusion.
If you're looking for a good action/suspense film with a good cast and
plenty of surprises, rent Enemy of the State. It may open your eyes to
several issues regarding privacy and personal security.
satellites repeatedly send "CQ" in Morse code every time
they're seen. "CQ" is ham radio shorthand for "Anybody
out there want to chat?" ("Seek you.") (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)