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Enemy of the State
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Reviews & Ratings for
Enemy of the State More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: anonymous from LA
20 October 1998

This was a great thriller / action piece and a chance to bring into the light a classic American film, The Conversation. Gene Hackman basically reprises his role as Harry Call, 15 years later than the events in that film. Will Smith is great as a straight man for a change with hardly any of his typical one damn, lines. The supporting cast, however, is what makes the film shine, that and a truly smart script playing on our paranoias and fears of being watched. This is a film where everyone in it, is somebody. Jaime Kennedy from the Scream movies, Seth Green from Can't Hardly wait, Gabe Byrne, everybody is in this film. I give kudos to Bruckheimer and Tony Scott for going back to their roots and making a tight action film, smartly written and nicely acted.

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12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

paranoia deluxe...

Author: gazzo-2 from United States
20 November 1999

really good companion piece to 'X-files' and 'The Conversation', in fact Gene Hackman plays a semi-sequel of parts to his part in that. Hackman is one of the Immortals, bringing class and charisma to anything he does. Smith is a good every-man, some of his line-readings seemed forced, but overall I am happy with his job here. The plot reminded me strongly of 'Sneakers', save for the fact that the 'Sneakers' were the baddies this time out. I enjoy the Bruckheimer touch and hope that they continue their fine work in their next film, a Pearl Harbor knock-off.

the Gazzo-2 rating? *** outta ****, suspenseful, semi-plausible, you can't go wrong with Jon Voight and Gabriel Byrne(in a cameo, mind...) in a film together with Gene and Busey's kid....

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This is what Snowden is fighting for!!

Author: rajatdahiyax from India
4 August 2014

The action producing-directing team of Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott is back with another thrill-a-minute ride called Enemy of the State. Taking its "innocent man accidentally caught up in political corruption" story from such films as Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor, they turn up the high- tech volume in an attempt to create the ultimate action film. Robert Clayton Dean, played by Will Smith, is a devoted father, husband, and attorney shopping for a sexy gift for his wife. What he doesn't know is that he was given a videotape from a friend (Jason Lee) regarding the recent murder of a U.S. senator led by corrupt National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight). Now Reynolds is after Dean to cover his tracks or, as the audience soon finds out, frame Dean for Rachel's murder. Since Dean isn't up on his high-tech gadgetry, he needs the aid of ex-intelligence operative Brill (Gene Hackman).Dean realizes that in the modern world, there is no such thing as total privacy

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One to see again and again, bring popcorn.....

Author: russell-benson from Oklahoma
31 October 2012

I've seen this movie multiple times and it never gets old to me. A fantastic combo of good writing and excellent acting all around and it's one of those movies that really makes you stop and think about the things they do in this movie and whether or not they can actually be done. A sequel would have been the icing on the cake but sometimes they figure one and done, especially when the movie does really well.

I will more than likely watch this many more times as it generally shows up on cable on a regular basis but I just can't help myself.

Gene Hackman really makes this movie and Will Smith makes an outstanding sidekick as the attorney who lives pretty cleanly but quickly learns how to do things on the shady side.

A must see, again!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A great modern thriller

Author: deatman9 from Canada
19 October 2012

This movie came out over ten year ago and no doubt it still holds up as a great thriller. It uses such a new original idea that is just great and keeps you interested. The actors all did a very good job and it really makes you think about the technology the government is using.

This movie is about a young up and coming lawyer(Smith) who starts to be tracked by members of the government. Unknown to him someone dropped a chip in his bag that contains a video of a secret murder the government officials committed.

This movie is action packed from start to finish. The actors all did a great job and this movie has you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Privacy vs Security

Author: david-sarkies from Australia
20 January 2012

The trailers for this movie wetted my appetite and I went expecting, and the movie delivered. Enemy of the State is tense, fast paced, action packed, and very cunning in the way the characters manipulate the world around them. Right from the beginning we are confronted with cunning and evil spies seeking to manipulate and control the world. Enemy of the State is the new generation of spy thriller and succeeds in what it sets out to do.

A bill is being passed through congress which would allow the security agents to invade the privacy of private citizens. They would be able to monitor all conversations and transmissions and be ready to grab any insurgents before they are able to act. This does lead to implications because nobody is able to lead a private life and the only private place would be your head. Thus the main thrust of this movie is the line that separates ones private life with national security and where that should be drawn.

This is not a new theme as it is the major thrust of George Orwell's 1984 in which Big Brother knows everything about everybody and monitors everybodies movements. Of coarse this is probably for the betterment of society but such things quickly downgrade into a totalitarian dictatorship. The National Security Agency (NSA) in Enemy of the State is like Big Brother except that they are blinded by the philosophy of protection of the state. Constantly throughout the movie they speak of America being the most powerful nation in the world and because of this they need to protect themselves from international terrorism. Such protection involves being able to monitor everybody to attempt to root out terrorists before people die. Those working for these people believe that it is for the betterment of the state, but there is the issue of people's privacy.

That is the other part of the movie, and the filmmakers are biased towards this idea. They support privacy over national security, and thus if security laws invade people's privacy then they are bad laws. Even though the NSA makes pleas of being able to monitor people to save the state, these pleas fall on death ears as we see innocent people suddenly becoming enemies of the state and being killed simply because they interfere in the NSA's plans. In fact, their desire to protect the state moves over to the absurd where the innocence of the state is being destroyed in their desire to preserve the state.

I guess this is the new generation of spy thrillers now that the Cold War is over. They attempt to turn the Muslim fundamentalists into the bad guys but generally it does not work. Instead the more popular movies are those in which the state is the enemy and the innocent person is the hero. This seems to be the more popular because it is still the right verses the left, as it was in the old communist movies. The right verses the left seems to be a popular theme and now that the old leftist regimes have gone, the only vestage of the left that needs to be attacked is the big government.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Enemy of the State

Author: ( from United States
6 March 2011

I found this gem quite by accident. It was an enjoyable surprise. What is our government doing with all the money it takes involuntarily from its citizens? This movie reveals encroaching invasion of privacy and the effects of uncontrolled power over other people. It shines a spotlight on infringement of liberties and the inevitable injustice and even death it causes. Will Smith's character accidentally becomes involved and his character is both mundane and heroic. Although there are some real moments of suspense, I get the impression that the movie is rushed through, that it needed more work. However the plot is daring and important and overall worth the watch.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fast-paced, edgy thriller that's surprisingly very post-modern

Author: tomb_92 from United Kingdom
23 April 2010

I was really surprised at this. It's one of Will Smith's lesser known films, but it has no right to be. It's easily one of his best, certainly up there with The Pursuit of Happiness. He gives a really strong performance without any of the light-hearted comedy slants he normally takes, not that I have a problem with that, it's just nice to see Smith acting seriously for a change. The story is really interesting and doesn't let you down like a lot of conspiracy theory films. It's really emotional at times and with Smith's acting you can really feel his pain and frustration. The story is also surprisingly post-modern, it feels like it could easily be set today rather than 15 years ago when it was made. This is a stunning thriller.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fresh Prince on the Run.

Author: Mr_Censored from Maine
23 December 2009

A film that was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, "Enemy of the State" stars Will Smith as a family man on the run from the government after unknowingly obtaining information about a politically motivated murder. Because the government (a.k.a. Big Brother) can see and hear virtually everything he does, he is helpless until he gains the assistance of an old, paranoid and tech-savvy character played by Gene Hackman.

Seeing as how it was made in 1998, it should be noted that "Enemy of the State" pre-dates the Patriot Act, making it relevant and powerful even 11 years after its release. Obviously much of what the government does in this film is exaggerated (is it?), but the script is whip-smart and thanks to brilliant pacing and a directing style from Tony Scott that shows restraint, you feel like you are there with the characters and the action never lets up for a moment. The paranoia built up within the film is contagious and what makes it truly great is that you'll walk away from it with something more to chew on than what the average blockbuster has to offer.

"Enemy of the State" is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, and is perhaps the smartest and one of the best films of its breed. The film is nothing if not consistent and despite a strong showing by Will Smith, Gene Hackman completely steals the show. Why he didn't win any awards for his performance in this film is beyond me. Jon Voight has a turn as the villain and Jason Lee gets an early but pivotal position early on in the film. Look out for bit performances by comedic actors Seth Green and Jack Black, too.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Under-rated and thought-provoking action thriller - 85%

Author: Benjamin Cox from Hampshire, England
29 June 2009

I remember going to see this at the pictures when it was released but over time, my memory of it began to fade save that my impression was that it was a great action thriller. Thankfully, the BBC were able to refresh my memory on Saturday night and therefore, I was able to watch this again with my Better Half. And you know what - it still is a gripping and classy action conspiracy film that surprises as often as it entertains, assuming you can stand Tony Scott's never-stand-still direction.

Will Smith plays hot-shot attorney Robert Dean, chasing mobster Pintero (Tom Sizemore) and unaware of the politically motivated murder of a congressman, instigated by shady politician Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight). But after a video of the murder is discovered, Reynolds sends his NSA guys after the tape which finds itself in Dean's unknowing possession. Soon, Dean's life falls apart and he finds himself chased by government agents wherever he goes. But as he desperately tries to discover why this is happening to him, his only hope lies with a shadowy individual known as Brill (Gene Hackman)...

The first thing that surprises you is that despite the director of "Top Gun" at the helm, this is a brilliantly written and thought-provoking thriller that doesn't patronise you with techno-jargon. The second thing that surprises you is the quality and depth of the acting - stars like Jack Black, Seth Green and Scott Caan pop up in the casting but all actors deserve praise as everyone is convincing. But the most surprising thing is how under-rated this film is. This film grips like a pair of Michelins and offers something more than your usual Jerry Bruckheimer helping of explosions and cool styling yet nobody seems to be talking about this like they should. There is a slight sense that this sort of stuff is out-dated these days as technology continues its relentless advance and the numerous gaffes about map coordinates and the accuracy of spy satellites may damage this films credibility somewhat but by and large, this is a quality film.

Maybe I'm being harsh on Tony Scott - I'm a huge fan of his brother Ridley, though - because this film would be a fine addition to any directors CV. "Enemy Of The State" remains a class above most action thrillers, feeling more like "The Fugitive" than "The Running Man" which can only be a good thing. It's also good to see a modern film with Gene Hackman in, before his self-imposed retirement and we can only hope he changes his mind soon because he is a genuine Hollywood icon. In the meantime, enjoy a movie that thrills and excites but also makes you think in equal measures.

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