Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a mild-mannered lawyer who works in Washington, D.C. He is on the trail of a kingpin named Paulie Pintero (Tom Sizemore). Meanwhile, a politician named Thomas Brian Reynolds (Jon Voight) is negotiating with Representative Phillip Hammersley (Jason Robards, Jr.) about a new surveillance system with satellites. But, Hammersley declines; Reynolds has Hammersley killed, but the murder is caught on tape, and the taper is chased by Reynolds' team of N.S.A. Agents. The guy must ditch the tape, so he plants it on Dean (unbeknownst to Dean). Then, the N.S.A. decides to get into Dean's life. That is when Dean's life began to fall apart all around him, with his wife and job both gone. Dean wants to find out what is going on. Then, he meets a man named "Brill" (Gene Hackman), who tells him that Dean has something that the government wants. Dean and Brill formulate a plan to get Dean's life back and turn the tables on Reynolds.Written by
The Ruby lingerie store is actually the doctored store front of Lambda Rising, a well-known gay bookstore on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. See more »
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. See more »
Why? Well for starters there is the best chase sequence since The French Connection. Then there is Will Smith as an actor - not just a star, though later in the movie he is admittedly overshadowed by veteran Gene Hackman.
There are two layers to this movie: On the surface is a pacy thriller with edge-of-the-seat chases but underneath lies a telling commentary on government surveillance. It is one of those truth-in-fiction stories which makes its point about government intrusion into privacy dramatically and effectively.
There are references to the classic, The Conversation: The surveilled couple talking in the park, and the Hackman character's premises are an obvious recreation of his workshop in the earlier movie. If you haven't yet seen The Conversation - see it before you see this one - you will understand the Hackman character a lot better (besides, it is a superb movie in its own right).
Oh, and Jon Voight is terrific as the bad guy...
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