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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Enemy of the State (1998)



Reviews and Comments

Enemy of the State is a fast-paced action thriller that correctly puts the action and thrills at the forefront but fails to make the mistake that breaks so many of its genre. Underneath the "ride" is an insightful and sometimes shocking portrait of a Big Brother government, where nearly every move you make and every word you say is recorded and observed. It seems farfetched at first, but is it really? How much of a society like this one is ours already? The vast bulk of the technology presented in this movie is certainly possible, and concerning its use, it's not so much a question of whether people will employ it for the purposes shown here as how far they will go.

The set-up for the plot is a familiar but effective device. Someone gets a hold of some incriminating evidence and passes it off to an unwitting bystander. Suddenly this bystander is being chased from all quarters and doesn't know why. He is played by Will Smith, an actor with a charismatic demeanor who makes most of the movies he's in fun just by his presence. He tracks down and seeks aid from Gene Hackman, a great actor who plays the immensely entertaining role of a knowledgeable recluse.

Enemy of the State is an exemplary action film: there's lots of adrenaline, but it's supported by a good cast and thoughtful musings.