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Crackerjack Thriller with a message...
neilmac6 December 2003
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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You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide
CrassActionHero22 March 2007
Enemy of the State (1998)

Review: This is a different direction for many. Will Smith for one and some noticeable comedic actors are here, but this is no comedy.

Enemy of the State is quite a movie. What is the main point of this is the plot. It works in many ways. In a situation like this, anyone with connections and power can have access to such technology to track down anyone who knows far too much. It's quite real. Scary in a real sort of way.

Another truly strong point here is the acting. Will Smith and Gene Hackman deliver excellent performances. Smith showed great emotion and Hackman had conviction. Not just these two were great, we have Jon Voight as well. But what really got me is the acting from other characters as Seth Green, Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, and even Jack Black. These people are great especially Black who is really acting here! Black should have realised that comedy is not his thing if suspense and drama are as he is great here.

Overall, we get great acting, a fine plot, and fast, character development and fast and intense action as well. Sound like a winner to me. Enemy of the State is fresh and original and clever. One of Smith's finest movies.

The Last Word: Don't miss. Gripping and Suspenseful.
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Peter Swanson26 January 2006
I don't know how I missed this in theaters, but I watched it for the first time tonight. I almost gave it a 10, because this is as good as the suspense/action drama gets. Somebody on the DVD special features called it "...a combination of Crimson Tide, The French Connection, and 3 Days of the Condor." From my list of favorites I'd also say it has aspects of Marathon Man, The Fugitive, and The Firm. Will Smith, whose work does not thrill me 100% of the time, is terrific, and Gene Hackman could not have been better. They also receive support from some great character actors, many of them UNCREDITED (a fact which blew me away).

My enjoyment was enhanced by being familiar with Hackman's The Conversation, in which he plays Harry Caul, one of the world's greatest audio surveillance men. His hideout/office in Enemy is reminiscent of Caul's digs, and the photograph which the bad guys have on file for him is of his character from The Conversation. I sort of wish they'd named the new character Caul, giving long-term continuity to the story.

I'm running off at the fingers here, so I won't elaborate on the location, direction, etcetera, but will end with SEE THIS FILM!
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I like this one, also beeing somewhat realistic (not in every detail of course).
rolfhub24 August 2002
Well, I like this one. I like the cast, the visuals are well done, but what is more important is the plot that I like really much. It's not the most sophisticated plot of all times, but I think it's quite good, and to some degree, realistic. Of course it's not possible to move sattelites that quickly, or zoom in on a videotape that much and still have crystal-clear visual, but quite some technology seen is realistic today, or in the near future. This is an hollywood flick, all right, so they have quite much action and everything looks very easy, steering a sattelite seems to be no harder than playing a video game, what makes it all seem a bit unrealistic/sci-fi-like, but today's technical posibilities are quite large, and continue to grow, so informing oneself about the issue (I mean the real world issue) is not a bad idea.

To give you some points to think:

  • It's routine for the credid card companies to document every transaction made with the cards, go figure who gets the docs if police is investigating.

  • Every call / fax done is documented for billing, go figure, who...

  • At least for your ISP it's possible to read every unencrypted email you send or receive, go figure ...

  • Today there are MANY cameras in public areas in Great Britain, with numbers still growing.

  • Face recognition software is already being used in combination with some surveillance cameras.

  • Dictation software that can interpret your spoken word and convert it into written text is being sold to you today, maybe some organisations have much better versions at their hands ...

The list could go on, but what I want to say is that one should think about the posibilities and listen to what the politicians say, and what they want to allow the federal organisations.

You want to be able to still _enjoy_ the movie in some years time, not thinking of it as being somewhat normal just as everyday life, all right?
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One of my favorite action-films ever.
Panterken16 October 2007
Enemy Of The State is one of the few movies I went out of my way to see in the theater ( I'm a video-rental guy) and it's indeed a grand action-movie. The big surplus is of course the great messages behind the film. It entails a fear that we all have in some degree, the loss of our privacy. Of course all the Hollywood-elements are present: the returning catchphrases and jokes, the over-dramatic scenes, etc. but Scott never goes too far. The pacing is great and the film's over before you know it even though it has a relatively long run-time( for an action-movie) of 120 min. Will Smith is solid but Gene Hackman is the one who steals the show. It's the first movie I saw that starred him (I was only 10 when the movie came out and I've been a big fan ever since.

Tony Scott's new movie, Deja Vu, really is a lot like EOTS in many ways but I still deem EOTS to be superior. Deja Vu is great of course but I guess I add some sentimental value to EOTS. It's really a must-see for action/thriller fans and I do not say this lightly.

EOTS fully deserves it's 8
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Good thriller - Hackman makes it
bob the moo21 December 2001
Sucessful lawyer Robert Dean is passed information by an old friend without noticing. Seconds later that friend is killed and Dean is targeted by a group within the Government who wish to cover up a conspiracy involving the murder of a congressman. With the Government's full weight of surveillance equipment brought to bear Dean turns to ex-NSA agent Brill to help protect him, find the information and get it out into the open.

This is much better than the ususal summer crash, bang, wallop stuff we usually get fed. It's greatly helped by the sense of paranonia that runs through the whole story from the Government's power and corruption at some levels. The film starts well, with 'everyman' Dean being drawn into a game of cat and mouse, framed for a crime he didn't commit and forced to go on the run from Government agents. Will Smith carries the film only so far but it realy gets interesting when Hackman turns up as Brill. He casts light on the ability of the government and is almost able to play them at their own game. Brill makes an appearance when the film starts to become too much of a staight chase movie.

To me the use of Hackman as Brill is the best bit of casting ever and makes this film stand out as being clever. In the 70's Hackman played a surveillance expert in Copolla's The Conversation. The film ends with Hackman being monitored himself, with him ripping his house apart looking for the bugs. What makes his casting as Brill so good is that Brill is where Hackman's "The Conversation" character would be 20 years on - it feels like it's the same character again. The director also deserves a lot of praise - he manages to keep the pace up throughout the film, whether it be scenes of chasing action or technological pursuit. The script helps as well - the conspiracy and the paranoia is strong throughout.

Smith is good in the lead, but he isn't quite as good an "everyman" as classic actors as Cary Grant or James Stewart were. Smith also struggles to carry the whole movie and the chases do get a bit samey after a while. Fortunately Hackman is brilliant as Brill, he is a classy actor and brings a lot of weight to the film just as Smith begins to feel the strain. Jon Voight is also good as the villian of the piece. The supporting cast is deep! There were so many famous faces in small roles that I really felt this was an allstar cast, despite the fact that it's a Smith vehicle. Gabriel Byrne makes a fleeting appearance, Ian Hart is there, Jake Busey (son of Gary) shows up, Jason Lee (actor in many Kevin Smith films) witnesses the murder, a gorgeous Lisa Bonet has a small part, James Le Gros, Regina King etc etc. The cast is well packed with famous faces - they don't all get the chance to put on a show but it adds quality at all levels.

Overall this is a fancy chase movie, but good direction, a strong and deep cast and a fantastic Hackman all make this film much better than it could have been. The last scene of the film is a little too upbeat but other than that it's pretty good stuff.
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Vastly underrated
Dan Grant21 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Conspiracy theorists who enjoy films like JFK and Conspiracy Theory will have a lot to enjoy with Enemy of the State. For a film that came out almost 10 years ago, it seems just slightly ahead its time. I don't remember everything about 1998, but I do know that things like DVD was in it's nascent stages and although the internet has been part of our vernacular for almost 20 years now, the technology prevalent back in 98 as opposed to now is light years apart. And in the post 911 days, having the idea of our privacy abolished is pretty much upon us. Maybe not to the extent perpetuated in this film, but we are pretty much under Big Brother's watchful eye all the time. When you walk into a bank, a restaurant, a convenience store or any public place, you are photographed and recorded and your image can be recalled with a simple enough click of a button. Even today when you call places like phone company's or pizza parlours you hear a recorded message that says this call may be recorded for quality purposes. We are being watched and kept tabs on everywhere we go and in everything we do. In this vein, Enemy of the State is a marvel. It is a film way ahead of it's time. No one could foresee the tragedy of 911, but now that it is part of our history books, films like The Siege and this one are that much more clairvoyant.

Will Smith plays a Washington attorney whose life is turned inside out when he is given a disc that has a political murder on it. He doesn't know that it does and when an unsanctioned government spook squad comes after him, he is confused and out of his element. Gene Hackman plays Brill, who might as well be an older version of Harry Cauld, his character from Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film The Conversation. He is a communications expert that has basically gone mercenary and no longer does the dirty work for the CIA and other seedy government factions. Smith needs his help attempting to understand what it all means and how he got entangled in this imbroglio. While Smith is the star of the film, it is clearly Hackman that steals the show with his vernacular and expertise on the subject.

The film is also blessed with so many bit players that are now either famous or semi famous that it's like watching a Robert Altman film such as The Player. There are that many famous faces in here. Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, Jack Black, Jaime Kennedy, Jason Lee, Gabriele Byrne, Tom Sizemore and Jason Robards all show up in the film in supporting roles. Add to that the incomparable Jon Voight and you have one hell of a cast.

Enemy of the State moves at a break neck pace. It is directed with a kinetic urgency and Tony Scott shows us why he is one of the best in the business with his style. I can't imagine many haven't seen this, but for those that haven't, it is definitely one of Jerry Bruckheimer's best. And that is saying something.

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The best Will Smith movie to date!
Xophianic4 February 2000
I enjoyed ENEMY OF THE STATE very very much. I like Will Smith, even though I found WILD WILD WEST very disappointing, and I thought this movie looked great when advertised. I was not disappointed. This is by far better than any of Will Smith's movies so far.

Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) seems to have an average American life. He has a pretty wife and a fine young son, as well as his own house and a successful job as a lawyer. But when he accidentally finds himself with evidence of politician Thomas Brian Reynolds (Jon Voight) killing somebody, his entire life is in jeopardy. His job destroyed, his reputation tarnished and his life in danger by Renolds and a gang of military soldiers and hackers, he turns to a friend, Rachel Banks (Lisa Bonet). She leads him to Brill, (Gene Hackman) a paranoid informant who is also on the run from the government, to help him.

The acting in this movie is great. Will Smith is at his absolute best in this movie, but the spotlight does probably belong to Gene Hackman for his part as Brill. Seth Green also does a great job as what started as a cameo and became a vital part of the movie. Jon Voight is superb as the evil politician, Lisa Bonet does well as Smith's ex-girlfriend, and Regina King does a fair job as Smith's wife. All of the characters are cool and interesting, especially those of Smith, Hackman, Voight and Green.

The action is this movie is terrific. There are some very entertaining chases, both car and foot, as well as gunfights and explosions. The ending is also pretty cool. The realism is a little far fetched, (especially when Will Smith goes into a lingerie shop and there are tons of good looking girls modeling it all over the store) but it is believable enough for the viewer to have fun.

I really enjoyed this movie and will buy it first chance I get. Go out and rent it and enjoy, you'll probably feel the same way.
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Interesting plot, will make you wonder who's watching you!
TxMike7 September 1999
Jon Voight, Will Smith, and Gene Hackman are the three stars who make this movie interesting. Voight is a rogue NSA operative and Smith quite accidentally gets on his trail without even realizing it. Hackman provides the key to exposing the crooks and facilitating a reasonable ending. Watching this movie makes you wonder how much of the surveillance depicted can really be done today by our governments. Although the movie has its share of violence, and an ending out of Reservoir Dogs, it also is sprinkled with some good humor. If you like action and espionage, then you'll like this movie. The DVD picture and soundtrack are both excellent. I give the movie overall 8 of 10.
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In God we trust all others we monitor.
Imagine7 December 1998
The murder of a congressman is caught on tape and Robert Dean (Will Smith) has it. He has to save his family career and life all in 2 hours! Although the plot twists aren't always surprising they are convincing. Gene Hackman plays the role of the paranoid informant wonderfully but Will Smith can't help being funny no matter how hard he tries. Tony Scott shows the action from surveillance camera and telephoto angles giving an edgy feeling throughout the picture. Most of the chases are on foot keeping car chases are kept to a minimum. The chases technically well done but seem to be missing an over the edge quality like most of the movie.The story moves along at a good speed making it a good action movie with a solid plot.
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Excellent, perfectly cast, thought provoking thriller!
Leonard Moore21 September 2006
This was an excellent, well thought out, intelligent, masterpiece of a thriller! It's the best film I've seen since "Fugitive-The Movie" It is well done in so many ways that I don't know where to begin, so I'll just mention the high points that come to mind immediately. First of all, Will Smith, Gene Hackman, and Jon Voight are so well cast in their characters that it is scary.

Jon Voight is so good in his character as the sophisticated, cold hearted, fiendishly clever villain that it seems the part was made for him and only him. What a bad guy! You had to hate him (like Ernest Borgnine as the mean stockade Sergeant in "From Here to Eternity"). His character was so cold, calculating, and uncaring about humans, other than himself, that it was a pleasure to watch and try to understand his take on the events that took place,and how he justified his views.

Gene Hackman, as Brill, was such an integral part of this fast moving, thought provoking film, that without him as the perfectly cast ex-CIA Agent, the story would not have worked (and with him, it worked so very well). Hackman was a pleasure to watch, and his character was so fascinating and he played him so well that Smith, at times, just shook his head when I doubt that it was in the script.

Will Smith's character needed him so desperately, that it would have taken three or more very good actors to fill in all the missing pieces that "Brill" did alone and was such an interesting character to watch every second that he was on the screen. The whole privacy issue part of the plot was dealt with so well that one had to give it serious thought after the film – the pace of the action didn't allow for (discussion type) deep thought during the film. As the plot unfolded, "Brill" explained to us (the viewers) much of what was going on through his conversations with and schooling of Smith's character. A technique that I enjoy, because we learned as he learned - as much as they wanted us to know at any given point in time in the story.

Smith's character was beautifully cast in the typical "Alfred Hitchcock" formula of placing a somewhat ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, and then, we watch to see how he uses his wits to cope, while we subconsciously place ourselves in his situation and think at each step, what we -ourselves- would do in such a scenario. Beautiful.
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The smartest thriller ever made
shortround839130 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In 1998, I was only about seven years old and therefore I couldn't see it in the theaters because of the rating, but my guess is, the entire world got a wake-up call to the horrifying truth about their government. And the thing is, everything that happened in "Enemy of the State" is very, very possible of happening. But that's just me thinking, 'cause it was over 11 years ago and and I couldn't remember if I tried. Did this movie do the same thing to the government as "Jaws" did to the beaches? Perhaps.

The movie is about a highly accomplished lawyer named Robert Clayton Dean played by Will Smith in the performance of his career and makes an extremely believable character and expresses his emotions of anger and paranoia just perfectly. Dean accidentally gets a videotape of a covered-up political murder and in most of the movie, he doesn't realize it. But he's aware that the people (NSA agents) chasing him are watching him for sinister purposes. Robert Dean is also one of the smartest characters in the history of films, as he is able to outsmart a corrupt agency who have practically everything on him, such as satellites, tracers and cameras.

Gene Hackman also stands out as the gruff, foul-mouthed former conspirer and government agent named Brill, who has had experience in surveillance technology and assists Dean in getting away from these dirty agents. However, Hackman doesn't show up until after the first hour, but that demonstrates his character who has spent most of his life hiding and it shows the secretiveness of Brill. Although the role is somewhat smaller, Hackman makes the best of it.

And as for the NSA agents played by Jon Voight, Barry Pepper, Seth Green and Jack Black.....all of these guys are DIRTY, and I mean that in the truest meaning possible. These guys are ruining an innocent man's life, screwing up his credit cards, and even wrecking his marriage just so they can get away with what they did. Believe me, you are gonna find yourself HATING these guys, and I mean it. And as movie villains go....you're supposed to hate them, sometimes in other movies, you might be amused or not feel anything at all, but "Enemy of the State" does what it's supposed to do. Also, they're very realistic 'cause they aren't stupid and they know what they're doing with all the technology they have.

Most of the film's thrills comes from the suspense rather than the action, as much of Tony Scott's films are like. The chase scenes such as the beginning when the NSA guys are going after Zavitz and when they're chasing Dean in the hotel and on the streets are terrificly shot and edited. Also, later on the action comes in after Dean and Brill run from the agents is also a highlight, and it's pretty hilarious after Dean asks Brill why he blew up the building and he reacts by saying "Because you made a phone call!" which demonstrates how careful he is. And of course the ending stand-ff between the agents and the Italian mob is absolutely bad@$$ in the true sense of the word.

I absolutely love "Enemy of the State" and support its position as one of the best thrillers of all time, because its very smart and doesn't treat the audience like they're a bunch of idiots. Buy it, rent it or borrow it from a friend, and watch the movie that happens to be the smartest thriller ever made....
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Gripping - Got My Attention
genevadavid8 December 2002
I stumbled onto this thriller while channel surfing in an Istanbul hotel room. I missed the first 20 minutes, but it didn't take long to be drawn into the story. In fact, the action is so fast and gripping that I didn't dare get up to take a pee for fear of missing something. Now that's gripping!

Earlier today I saw a report on cameras no larger than the size of a pill that can make a movie of your digestive tract, from mouth to anus. Now if such miniature devices are already a reality, then some of the tracking technology used in this film must be close to reality - maybe too close for comfort.
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One of the most entertaining thrillers of the late 1990's.
Lucien Lessard5 February 2007
An successful attorney from Washington D.C. by the name Robert Dean Clayton (Will Smith). Which Robert without his knowledge is given a video by his college friend (Jason Lee). Which his friend is trying to hide from mysterious strangers, who been after him until he dies unexpectedly by a fire truck. In that video has a murder of an top political elderly man (An uncredited:Jason Robards Jr.) and the man, who responsible for the murder is a corrupted national security agency man (Jon Voight). Now Dean's normal life is been after by a lethal team of skilled NSA surveillance team. They are ruthless and they will do everything to complete their mission until a mystery man (Two Time Oscar-Winner:Gene Hackman) helps Dean to be away from NSA and destroy, whoever they are responsible for destroying his life.

Directed by Tony Scott (Beverly Hills Cop 2, The Hunger, True Romance) made an extremely entertaining thriller with plenty of action and humour. This was one of the biggest hits of 1998. It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Beverly Hills Cop, Con Air, The Rock). This has an good cast, includes:Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Jack Black. Loren Dean, Barry Pepper, Jamie Kennedy, Jake Busey, Scott Cann, James LeGros and Gabriel Byrne.

The original cut on the DVD has an sharp non-anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an strong-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This enjoyable film is extremely entertaining and never slows down. Hackman's mysterious character is loosely based on a film by Oscar-Winner:Francis Ford Coppola movie titled "The Conversation". Which some critics and fans of Coppola's picture will call this an uncredited sequel. Seth Green, Philip Baker Hall and Tim Sizemore appears uncredited. Panavision. (****/*****).
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Mr. Smith goes to Washington
Benjamin Wolfe16 September 2006
This grabs you by the throat, with an iron grip!! A private citizen (Smith) an attorney no less, is under suspicion, by a govt. department that doesn't have a customer service number for the public. Not in the yellow pages anyway. When a Congressman Hammersly, (Robards) discovers that this bill, the Privacy Act, would actually kill a couple large companies in his district and also end up exploiting, (his suspicions tell him)many Americans needlessly. He is asked by an official from the Government Dept. with no customer service dept. (Voight) to vote 'Their' way instead of what Hammersly wants. The good Congressman tells him basically to go to Hell. Shortly after that disagreement, the Congressman has a severe heart attack....and dies. A good man gone, the story just begins.

Mean while enter Smith, who happens to get caught in the middle and is inside an investigation of a Mob-'heavy'. Look out this spells trouble! Coinsidentally the FBI just happens to be investigating this Mobster heavy (Tom Sizemore)while Smith is delivering a video to him to let him know that he is going to have to testify in court, that he is being indicted! This does not sit well with this over-bloated megalomaniac. So the mobster, threatens Smith. On and on this goes and gets more interesting. Will Smith does fantastic work in this out of control thrill-rider. Enter Gene Hackman, a retired, former 'spook' for the agency, who worked in Iran before the 'fall' of that country. Hackman is a 'dramedy' delivering player, who without his help, making 'Brill' the character he portrays, this would not be the film it ended up as. The rest of the cast plays out convincing roles as well, this was a wonder-working story. Not all movies are equal, and this is one that shines. Even with years passing it, this feature spreads out it's events actions, reactions, problems and solutions masterfully. Our director Ridley Scott is a 'marvel' set up and execute mind. He takes and makes the interesting, even more so, by the way he lays it out. The story takes on a pace that moves fast and kind of makes your heart go to your throat, inasmuch as feeling as though you are trying to escape the long, reaching arm of a very secret agency, who's job, is watching everything possible out there.

Hackman, Smith Byrne, Bonet and Voight are well a 'sturdy' force playing out there respective characters, putting it together in this 'mix' and blending a winning thrill-chase of an enthralling story!

I recommend this work of dramatic excitement highly. Again and again. It makes you think twice...and then some. BLEND THIS!!(*****)
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A First Rate Thriller
gigan-9225 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This film delivers!! There are several espionage films out there about what the government is really up to these days, but this is one of the few that really catches my attention. The story is well paced and won't let you down that's for sure. Will Smith stars and his acting is extraordinary here. Gene Hackman also portrays his character solidly if I say so myself, and Jon Voight does well too. All the other characters are fantastic and won't bore you, giving lots of emotion to the film. The action is great and will keep you on the edge of your seat till it's all over. I love the chase sequence that ends with a fire truck and a crushed bike. The end gun battle was nice and it all remains realistic at the same time without being over the top. Yes!!! The score is fantastic and gives a somber feel to the film. Loved it! This film truly is a first rate thriller!
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..exciting film..
fimimix4 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I add my vote to most comments posted here as this being an excellent film. It is hard to imagine that the silly kid Will Smith ("Robert Dean") played on TV to become the capable actor he has become on film. "Enemy of the State" certainly documents that.

I also agree that the film was made way before its time, and certainly cannot be "dated". It also documents how innocent people become embroiled in very complicated and dangerous situations, with having done nothing to cause it. "Big Brother" is all too relevant in this film, and one can imagine it's much worse now since "the Patriot Act" is in full-swing.

As all users mention, many actors-actresses cast at that time have become major stars. However, it IS the old-school guys who make the film believable......Gene Hackman (" Brill") and Jon Voight ("Reynolds") do stellar acting-jobs, with the help of countless smaller roles.

This is one "chase" and shoot-'em-up" film which did not bore me and I could truly relate to. I've watched it three times this week, so you can see that I enjoyed Tony Scott's directing and THE STORY David Marconi put on the screen. Regina King ("Rachel Banks") definitely added to the suspense of "Enemy of the State" - a good family film.

SO, Guys - be careful what you do in today's world - don't take it for granted that everything is rosy and safe. Bravo !
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Enemy of the State
Scarecrow-887 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A labour lawyer, Robert Dean(Will Smith)is embroiled in a controversial NSA cover-up when a former college pal from Georgetown(Jason Lee)leaves a recording of the murder of a Congressman(Jason Robards)at the hands of Thomas Reynolds(Jon Voight)the head of NSA because he opposed a Security act being passed regarding wire-tapping at will anyone they deem a possible threat against America. The disc is what Reynolds needs or it will certainly hit the fan in a major way. Reynolds tools all his resources putting his crackpot team of surveillance wiz-kids and footmen on the hunt for Dean, whose life is thrown into a tailspin thanks to his supposed ties with the mob and a source(Lisa Bonet)who gives him information from a Deepthroat named Brill. Brill, it turns out is Edward Lyle(Gene Hackman), a former NSA man himself removed from the agency he loved after an Iranian cover-up in the early 80's which sent him underground. His identity is uncovered once Dean meets up with him in an unfortunate state of affairs leading to both being on the lam. But, having a skilled technician who understands the world of surveillance and security breach(obviously, I was reminded of Coppola's THE CONVERSATION the entire time Hackman appears on screen;I believe they even use a photo of Hackman from that film when they search his background files)will lend Dean a helping hand in catching Reynolds and company making one false move or statement turning the tables on them in using their own methods on them.

Exhausting, thrilling, pulse-pounding roller-coaster doesn't let up once Dean is on the run. Smith and Hackman make an ideal team and the film plays at the entertaining, fast-paced level of THE FUGITIVE where Dean is continually running for his life at every turn trying every way possible to remain one step ahead of his pursuers. We get a glimpse inside the world of those who sneak a peak into our privacy..it's scary and we come to understand that this flick might just be a cautionary tale as well. The supporting cast of young Hollywood at the time(Jack Black, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy,Scott Caan, Jake Busey,Barry Pepper)is enormous. One of Tony Scott's best films, this film may not be at all realistic, but is a hell of a lot of fun.
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Big Brother......
goober4485 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If this film doesn't provoke you into thinking about "big brother" nothing will... Gripping, fast paced, realistic (especially in the world we know today), superb acting.... This film is all about being under government surveillance and it's too relevant to ignore. Will Smith and Gene Hackman are the stars, but the supporting cast list is top notch- Gabriel Byrne, Ian Hart, Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, Jack Black, Jaime Kennedy, Jason Lee, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore and Jason Robards. Who's watching you???? If you can watch a film of this nature, in this day and age, and not ask yourself that question, then you are one of the most unique individuals to walk our earth. Conspiracy theorists, this is a must see for you.
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A Very Fine Techno-Thriller
mjw23051 January 2007
Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a successful attorney who without his knowledge comes in to possession of a video tape that incriminates a top official of the national security agency (Jon Voight). A team of highly skilled NSA surveillance operatives set out to destroy Dean's world and retrieve the tape with the technology they have at their fingertips. His only chance is a man who understands the the NSA's tactics (Gene Hackman) and a thrilling ride ensues.

Enemy of the State is a state of the art technological thriller, with non-stop action, intrigue and suspense. Smith, Hackman and Voight are all brilliant and despite some very minor flaws the plot runs at a fast pace and is very believable.

Recommended 8/10
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Atmospheric Actioner Really Delivers
Elswet16 March 2007
Featuring one of Will Smith's best performances, but also presenting Jack Busey (Gary's son), and a riveting performance by Jack Black! Had I remembered this, I would not have been concerned over Jackson's King Kong (2005).

Enemy of the State delivers intrigue, suspense, action, intelligence, and actually generates some tense atmosphere. The dialog is never trite, the story line is well developed, not contrived. The performances are top notch. And the action is superb.

This is one good movie.

It rates an 8.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Brainless Blender
jldmp129 July 2006
Bruckheimer is guilty of fronting some of the most stupid movies in existence -- one look at his resume confirms that. Tony Scott is just as guilty (as director) of churning out tripe. They've conspired before, so why would we expect anything worthwhile as a result? We've seen it all before; this is basically "Inner Space" plus the intrigues and strained marriage subplot from "The Firm". Lots of long panning shots...dark, underdeveloped and jerky, as is most of Scott's work.

The problem here is not the moronic plot, or that it's about evil government; in fact, it tries hard to present the facade of being politically neutral. The problem is, the whole thing is laid out for dummies, with absolutely no ambiguity about who's good, who's bad, or what arc each character will follow within the story. In short, who cares? How are we entertained at all by this?

Ah, there's the rub. The supposed entertainment value comes from the illumination of the star power, and hence it's built from the actors up. Everything is designed to play to each celebrity's strength: Smith as a lawyer (so that we perceive him here as royalty), in order to meet Hollywood's affirmative action quotas in casting, yet he's tough and jive when necessary, so as to pass authenticity muster with the audience.

Hackman is the real reason this exists though; huge chunks of "The Conversation" were ripped off in order to make this (with none of the storytelling brains), so that he can give us more of his glum authoritarianism. Whole sections of this obviously try to see and hear the narrative in the same manner as Coppola, but Scott doesn't have a clue.

Most insulting, though, is how the ethnicities are stereotyped. The Chinese couple is depicted as befuddled. The 'Italian-American' depictions involve men slathered with hair grease, leather blazers, wife beater shirts, lots of guns, boiling pasta, and exploding jars of sauce. Sizemore, as the Boss, is flanked by a fat, dutiful wife and fat, cheeky kids.

In order for us to accept Regina King as the wife, she has to be Hollywood's conception of a 'strong black woman' (whatever that is), propped up by her status as an 'ACLU lawyer', yet she is hysterical, jive and sexually compliant -- they couldn't find a dumber actress if they tried.

Is this any match for "No Way Out/The Big Clock"? Comparing leading black men in film, is Smith any match for Denzel Washington, who's done smart things like "Fallen", or for Larry Fishburne, who can support things on the order of magnitude of the entire "Matrix" series by himself?

Nope... all in all, it's the usual collection of deeply insulting, intellectually vacant, preachy, pandering nonsense, that owes its existence purely to the theft of ideas from better predecessors.
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paranoia deluxe...
gazzo-220 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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One Of Will Smith's Best Movies
slightlymad2230 November 2017
Continuing my plan to watch every Will Smith movie in order, I come to Enemy Of The State (1998)

Plot In A Paragraph: Lawyer Robert Dean (Will Smith) becomes a target by a corrupt politician (Jon Voight) and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.

Smith massively dials it down from the last three movies, and does some solid acting. In fact it's his most impressive performance since Six Degrees Of Separation. As fun as he was in Bad Boys, Independence Day and Men In Black, Mike Lowrey, Captain Steven Hilliard and Agent J, are all basically the same person, just an exaggerated form of the Will Smith public persona. Here he is at his most effective, a true case is less is more. But as good as Will Smith is (and he is totally believable as the family man lawyer, who does not have a clue, what is happening to him) it's Gene Hackman who dominates and steals every scene he is in. I love him anyway, but he is brilliant here.

Jon Voight is always great, I'm a fan of his. Regina King is good, as is Lisa Bonet, an actress I had a huge crush on growing up. There are small roles for Jason Lee, Jack Black, Seth Green, Phillip Baker Hall, Jason Robards, James Le Gros and Tom Sizemore. Gabriel Byrne also has a blink and you'll miss him part too.

Overall it's a tense, well directed and well acted movie, with a good sense of paranoia and tension. One of Will Smiths best for me. I find him to be much better, when he is actually acting instead of playing versions of him self.

Enemy Of The State grossed $111 million at the domestic box office to end 1998, the 15th highest grossing movie of the year.
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Excellent paranoia action thriller
Neil Welch13 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Lawyer Robert Dean unwittingly (and unwillingly) comes into possession of a computer disc showing the secret service murdering a senator. The secret service promptly set to destroying him with a combination of constant surveillance while deleting him from computers everywhere. In desperation, Dean turns for assistance to off-the-grid ex-CIA man Edward Lyle (Gene Hackman).

This scarily believable thriller features both Smith and Hackman on good form, in a paranoia-based story which illustrates both how much we rely on computers and also how much surveillance is already in place. It works both as an action potboiler and also as a thought-provoking piece.

It is also noteworthy for the number of well-known faces in small supporting roles, some of them uncredited.
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