Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★½

I love this film. It's probably one of my favorite Tony Scott movies (although I don't like True Romance, which most of his fans consider one of his best, so I'm obviously not your normal Tony Scott fans).

I know this movie was not universally beloved by critics, many of whom wanted to nitpick the technology on display, and perhaps some of the actions taken by Will Smith's character. I get that, and that's why the movie isn't a 5/5 for me. That being said, I don't care. Scott infuses this movie with the kinetic energy that he knew so well, and this movie just flies. It's a little over two hours, but it does not feel that long, as, after introducing us to the characters, Scott then ramps up the tension, only allowing it to cool off for short period while the audience composes themselves, and then going to town once more.

Besides being a breathless action movie, the film does want to talk a little about, not the dangers of technology, but the dangers of allowing the government to use that technology for their own purposes, without any accountability. The message is just as, if not more, important today, where legislation such as The Patriot Act make scenarios such as the one in this film seem a little more possible.

Will Smith leads an amazing cast (and he undoubtedly leads it; Gene Hackman doesn't show up onscreen until halfway into the film) and this is Smith when he was at the height of his box office powers, and it shows in this film. He's charismatic and engaging, throwing off one liners that would sound obnoxious coming from other actors, but which he has the charm to pull off. It's amazing how many young actors that would go on to bigger and better things are in this film; Seth Green, Jack Black, Jason Lee, Scott Caan, Barry Pepper and Jamie Kennedy, to name a few.

It's just a tightly constructed, beautifully filmed, edge of your seat thriller, something that Tony Scott did so well. I'm sorry he won't be doing any more of these.

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