Enemy of the State (1998)

reviewed by
Joy Wyse

Review:        ENEMY OF THE STATE

Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, et al

Directed by: Tony Scott
Review by: Joy Wyse

Will Smith is the star of this movie mainly because he's the only one who has more than a couple of scenes. The exception is Gene Hackman who appears halfway into the story. The plight of Robert Dean [Will Smith] is one that could happen to anyone. That's what makes this movie so scary. It's not the explosions, or the car chases. It's the realization that our privacy is in danger. In this age of computers and advanced electronics, our lives are open books-if you are the one who knows where to find the book.

Dean, a young practicing attorney, is in the middle of a law suit involving an Italian `enforcer' who threatens his life because of evidence Dean has that could send him back to prison. At the same time, another plot is beginning to unfold, and through a set of circumstances, Dean becomes an unknowing player in a political battle involving the `Right to Privacy'. He learns first hand just how susceptible we have all become. At first it's small things like having his credit card refused at a hotel. Soon, as the conspiracy grows, he realizes that the Italian group is not capable of such extensive harassment.

Jon Voight seems to be creating a new image for himself as the epitome of upper-class corruption. He has that trustworthy-but-misleading look. As he's playing a political figure, it makes you wonder about our own security. Lisa Bonet and Regina King are the two women in Dean's life. Lisa is a former girl friend, from his days at Georgetown. Regina is his wife and mother of their 8-year-old son. The story is so well written that, at times, I wasn't sure which female would end up with him. Gene Hackman, the co-star, is wonderful. He's totally believable. It's just a shame that it takes so long for him to appear. The explanation about his past is told too quickly and, at the end, you're still a bit in the dark about him.

Other cast members are excellent in their roles although most of them have nothing more than cameos. It makes you wonder why some are given star billing and others are not.

The movie isn't bad. It's an OK way to spend a couple of hours. But it's neither the actors nor the plot that you'll remember. You'll just keep asking yourself how much privacy you really have. It's worth seeing for that reason alone. I give it a B-. And, I would watch it again, probably on TV.

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