Enemy of the State

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director: Tony Scott
Writer: David Marconi
132 minutes
Release: 11/98
Cast: Will Smith , Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Ian Hart, Jake Busey, Barry Pepper, Gabriel Byrne, Tom Sizemore, Jason Robards and Jason Lee

Enemy of the State is based upon the premise that audiences enjoy watching people escape massive governmental conspiracies and right technocratic wrongs with wit, candor, and good looks. True enough. In a strong, lead performance, Will Smith proves once again, he's up to the job. What director Tony Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer seem to have forgotten is that audiences also expect a plot, character development, and suspense. Robert Clayton Dean (Smith) unknowingly acquires a videotape that the corrupt factions of the National Security Agency are willing to kill for. The mechanisms of destruction are in motion before Dean understands his plight. In an act of revenge on his former employers, eccentric techno-genius Harry Caul (Hackman) comes to the aide of Dean. The camerawork is vivid, and fast-moving, in sync with the movie's whirlwind pace. The apparatus of surveillance ? stylized, and shimmering with the edgy paranoia of a data-dependent society ? is an entity unto itself, sparking the voyeur in each of us to raise an inquisitive eyebrow.

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