Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★

I was underwhelmed by this movie the first time, but it's one of those films that gains an eerie prescience in hindsight. Fascinating that this came 4 years before the Patriot Act. The movie doesn't mention the internet but its impact on culture only amplifies the movie's concerns. It's one of those rare, great movies that really makes you feel the net-tightening paranoia of it's protagonists.

Tony Scott utilizes a darker shade of his usual, remarkable blockbuster gloss and keeps the pace and tension increasing throughout until it becomes nearly unbearable by the end. Hackman, Smith and that cat make for a great team. Will Smith is excellent in the sort of flawed Everyman role that someone like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart would have fulfilled in an earlier era. He also gets to swear a lot here, which was startling and rather refreshing. I wish we had gotten more R-rated Will Smith back in the day. (I suppose we still can.) The whole cast is great, and stacked with talent that was either veteran or just about to hit. The script is tight and effective. And Scott sets a great mood and keeps the thrills popping.

An underappreciated gem, almost like a Hitchcock thriller for the digital age. Okay, so it's not quite THAT good, but still highly recommended.

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