Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★

Really strong, wrong man thriller stuff, anchored by Smith’s unwavering charisma. Beautifully underlines it’s encroaching totalitarianism through Tony’s hyperkinetic panache. All the rapid-editing through satellite surveillance, security-cams, etc. - this stuff has been done to death in the intervening years, but the formal precision is what keeps it vital. Love all the references to The Conversation, and they reach total brilliance with the casting of Gene Hackman. Dude steals the show as (basically) Harry Caul in the years after the finale of Coppola’s 1974 masterwork. When he busts into the picture, you believe him. My favorite part is how Scott reappropriates the classic Hopper/Walken face-off and climactic standoff of True Romance, for his finale here. It even has a fresh context: there’s something deliciously witty about pitting corrupt government officials against the Mafia in a Mexican-Standoff, successfully ending a lifelong career in Intelligence for Voight’s NSA official (born. 9-11-40).

Choice image: Smith, framed at a Dutch-angle, in a Blade Runner-esque tunnel, running in a bathrobe through traffic. Shot lasts a fraction of a second and has been successfully burned into my memory.

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