Rachel tells Robert Dean that when she needs to contact Brill, she "chalks" the mailbox, then Brill crosses the chalk mark and she makes the drop. After Dean discovers that Rachel's been killed, he uses a black, indelible ink marker to signal Brill. Brill is very specific about his procedures, and the reason chalk is used is because it can be easily wiped off so it will be clear when she needs to make a new drop. If they continued to use indelible markers, they wouldn't be able to wipe off the old marks and have any way of knowing when a new one had been made. (The marker looks like it could be a dry erase type which could be wiped away and re-used. Also, Robert Dean may not care if it could be re-used as he would have no further need after the next meeting)
Brill tells Dean about his experiences with the Iranian secret police aid the Afghan rebels against the Russians, then mentions the U.S. Embassy seizure in Iran. But the Embassy was seized in November 1979, one month before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (December).
When Thomas Reynolds and wife are checking their bank statement for the extra $140,000, Reynolds says, "Two separate $70,000 deposits on the same day." The statement, however, shows the dates of the deposits as 12/09 and 12/11.
In the lingerie shop, Dean tells the saleswoman his wife's breasts are "way bigger" than hers. Later, when talking to his wife in the back shed, he opens her bathrobe revealing her to have very small breasts.
Fiedler researches the relationship between Dean and Banks. First in the list of common items is their attendance at Georgetown University where the record shows they both have the exact same student number.
Daniel Zavits's camcorder is described as a motion-activated digital video camera by the NSA, yet a close-up of it in the previous scene shows the Hi8 logo. In 1998, only analog signals could be recorded on Hi8 tapes; Digital8 was not introduced until the following year. So it is not a digital video camera.
When the conspirators are inspecting the security camera footage of Dean's shopping bag, Fiedler tells the tech to rotate the image 75 degrees around the Z axis, but the image clearly rotates more than that, roughly some 110-120 degrees.
When Daniel Zavitz retrieves his camera from the hide, he clearly walks past some kind of accident that has occurred. Yet he seems very indifferent to the possibility that he could have captured the accident on tape.
At the end of the film when Dean sits down and switches on the TV he sees himself from a camera in the smoke detector but when he looks at the TV, the angle of the camera is positioned from the TV as he is looking straight forward.
When Brill and Dean are breaking into the Congressman's hotel room, the footage used of Dean waiting by the door is reused from the footage of Dean waiting for Mr. Wu to open the door. The footage is used twice during the break-in within a few seconds. Dean is wearing a tie and dress overcoat while waiting for Mr. Wu, while not wearing a tie nor dress overcoat when breaking in with Brill.
When Dean and Brill are outside the police station near the end, a glimpse of the sky shows thin clouds and blue sky. Moments later while Brill is running away and is intercepted by the goons in the car it is pouring rain.
At the beginning when the Congressman is killed, the character with the syringe walks past the dog. As he kills the Congressman, the dog starts barking, yet in the footage when the bird watcher is watching, the dog starts barking as the killer walks toward the Congressman.
The business card Robert Dean hands Zavitz in the lingerie shop has a different email address from the business card removed from Zavitz's body after the bicycle accident and viewed by Reynolds in his office, portrayed as being located at NSA in Fort Meade. NSA HQ has a restricted entrance directly from MD-295 South-bound.
When Dean is in the goons' van we see Lyle escorted to the back of the van sheltered from the pouring rain under an umbrella. While he enters the van we see the rain pouring down behind him yet when we see a close-up of Reynolds, over his left shoulder we see the city skyline with not a drop of rain in sight.
During the rail yard scene, Brill punches Dean and the camera shot briefly changes to Dean crouching. Before and after this shot there is a moving train behind Dean, during the shot there is an empty track.
When Robert and Rachel are walking through the square, at one point "Camera 3" is shown from behind sweeping left-to-right, but the visual on the small monitor to the operator's lower left is moving right-to-left.
When Thomas Reynolds's daughter is telling him that "we are on TV", he looks over at the set. We cut to the TV itself and see the daughter jumping up and down and Reynolds still looking at his paperwork.
During the chase scene in the rail yard, the full size Ford Bronco rolls several times. Toward the end of the roll, it is no longer a Bronco, but a pick-up truck as you can see the truck bed and roll bar in the back.
When the Congressman is killed, the signs identifying the area call it Occoquan Park. Later the TV reporter calls it Loch Raven Reservoir - the latter is just north of Baltimore, while the former is some 50 miles south (to the south-west of Washington between Woodbridge and Springfield.)
As Brill is entering the convenience store, the song "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" is playing and the lyrics "We'll all have some Pumpkin Pie and we'll do some Caroling" is heard not once, but twice.
At the beginning when the Senator is killed, the character with the syringe walks past the dog. In the footage he walks on one side of the dog (closer to the lake) before killing the senator, but really he walked on the other side of the dog (farther from the lake).
When the reporter is reporting on the death of the Senator, the reporter is holding a CNN microphone and yet when the repeat is broadcast, she is holding a Channel 13 microphone, doing the same broadcast.
In the opening scene (in which the congressman is killed) the time is given as 0645 hrs (6:45 AM). Later When the congressman's car is being recovered from the lake, the time is given as 1507 hrs (seven minutes after three in the afternoon). But the position of the sun appears to be virtually the same for both scenes. Plus the TV reporter announces the murder took place something like "an hour ago" or words to that effect.
When Brill and Dean are running from the burning car towards the trains, you can see Brill put the bag over his left shoulder and look towards Dean twice from different angles while Dean is talking to Brill.
At the end of the movie when Dean sees himself on TV and waves, he is waving with one hand, but with the other hand on the TV. Also the bandage is on one side of his face, but on the opposite side of his face on the TV. This is obviously a different take, rather than reversing the image. To prove this, just look at the sleeve in comparison to his watch. The real image shows the sleeve touching the watch, and the TV image shows the sleeve 2-3in away from the watch.
When Robert Dean locks himself in the storage closet in the hotel room, you can clearly see the agents knocking the door open but the door being blocked by a cleaning cart. Later, when Dean sets the room on fire, the door is sealed again and the firefighters have to hack it down.
As Will Smith goes into the janitor's closet and starts the fire, the door swings into the closet and he then blocks it from opening with the cart. When the fireman chops a few holes in the door with the ax, and pulls it out into the hall. The door stops on the jamb would prevent the door from coming into the hall that easy. It would have to have been an outswing door.
At the beginning of the scene where Dean meets and talks to his wife in the garage, the caption reads "Dean Residence 0715 hrs" but right after, the video surveillance feed from the kitchen is time stamped 12:43 - while it's possible that the video feeds simply count hours, minutes and seconds, unrelated to actual time, there is no practical reason for this, and recalculating time stamps on footage recorded from the feeds to actual time would be an unnecessary complication.
When the NSA agent watching Brill's vehicle on the Satellite imagery dispatches the NSA "hit team" to Brill's secret location (the "Jar") he tells them to proceed to Latitude 30 degrees, 64 minutes and Longitude 72 degrees, 29 minutes. Not only is this an incorrect syntax to identify a location using that nomenclature, it also places Brill's location about 547 miles east north east of Jacksonville, Florida at a spot in the Atlantic Ocean.
When Zavitz begins to flee, we twice hear satellite surveillance requested at latitude 38°55', longitude 77°00'. That exact position would be around 4th and U Streets Northeast, and giving the coordinates to the minute implies an accuracy of about a mile (a nautical mile, in fact - around 1.15 miles or 1852m). But moments later, as he reaches the roof, the street intersection is given as 18th and Columbia, which is in Washington's northwest quadrant more than 2 miles away.
In different scenes supposed to be in Baltimore, satellite surveillance is requested first at latitude 39°14', longitude 74°39'; then at latitude 39°27', longitude 74°42'. Both positions are about 100 miles east of Baltimore near Atlantic City, NJ, one of them actually in the ocean. The correct longitude for the first location, for instance, would be around 76°37'.
In a third Baltimore scene, the technician requests surveillance at latitude 30°64', longitude 72°29'; There are only 60 minutes in a degree, so this is like expressing a person's height as 5 feet 14 inches; he obviously misspoke. Yet the reply is simply "Affirmative". And, again, no matter what meaning is intended, the coordinates would not be anywhere near Baltimore.
During the fire in the hotel and subsequent ambulance ride that is supposed to be set in DC, the responding engine has a Baltimore City Fire patch, and the paramedic is wearing a Maryland Paramedic patch.
One of the operatives remarks that the global positioning satellites have an orbit of 155 miles. Such a low-earth orbit for a satellite would be entirely impossible, as it would not be stable at such a low altitude for very long (perhaps two weeks at most). Normal altitudes for GPS's and other earth-observing satellites are at least 600 to 900 Kilometers (372 to 562 miles), and more often these satellites orbit from altitudes of 1,000 miles or more.
It is impossible to obtain a 3D image of the shopping bag (or anything) from one camera feed that the investigators had. Supposing that they had another camera in the store, they would simply have two images from different points of view but the rotating p.o.v. still cannot be achieved this way.
In the scene where dean is running on the hotel roof after Brill leaves him, the surveillance team reports that the satellite is coming on-line with "one meter resolution". One meter resolution indicates that the smallest pixel (detail) that can be seen is 1 meter by 1 meter while the film clearly suggests that the satellite has enough resolution to see dean running. Assuming you would need at least "web-cam" resolution (75 pixels-per-inch), the Satellite resolution would need to be roughly 2,800 times higher than one meter (38 inches x 75 pixels per inch = 2,850)
Near the beginning of the movie when the very powerful spy satellite is brought into use, one scene shows that there is a layer of high clouds, probably cirrostratus. Although high clouds can be translucent to the sun, there is no way the satellite could get a crystal clear view of people running around at the surface. Even awesome technology could not accomplish this. It is obviously a visible image because there is full color.
OSHA standards for cleaning supplies, as in the cleaning supply closet at the hotel, specifically forbid flammable cleaning supplies for the very reason that Dean proved: a fire hazard. Moreover, it would be incomprehensible that any hotel with even the smallest degree of safety precautions would even think about keeping lighters, ashtrays and flammable liquids anywhere near one another.
Throughout the movie a spy satellite is called upon multiple times, providing live video at an extreme quality of the protagonists. However upon showing the satellite it clearly has no cameras or imaging equipment, but a wide spectrum radio antenna dish, which could not provide video imaging, let alone real time, and even more so at the quality it had in the movie.
After Dean alludes the NSA agents in the tunnel, we see an exterior shot of Thomas Reynolds' house with the caption, "Reynolds' Residence 2236 hrs." It is partially daylight but it is always completely dark at 10:36 p.m. in Baltimore.
Gene Hackman's character was said to be a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Considering Hackman's character's age, he would have been a graduate of Drexel Institute of Technology since Drexel changed its name in February 1970.
When Brill hijacks the car under the bridge, the car is an E-class Mercedes, with obvious power windows in both front and back seats. However, you can clearly see when Brill tells Dean that he is hypoglycemic, the manual device for the window. That's impossible in an E-class Mercedes.
When Dean and Brill enter the "jar" in Brill's home, they close the outer cage door with the cat outside it. But they don't close it tight, and the cat is seen forcing her way in, so when the cat is seen later, it's not unexpected.
The character played by Seth Green does not appear with the NSA team at any point after Dean escapes pursuit in the freeway tunnel. No reason is given for his departure, and it seems unlikely he would simply be allowed to leave without comment given the nature of the operation.
When the helicopter is approaching Lyle and Dean on the roof of the building, the pilot asks for coordinates, but what he is given is a physical address. Coordinates implies two sets of numbers for latitude and longitude.