Stanley Scorsese’s review published on Letterboxd:
There’s a reason why Hollywood doesn’t make movies like this anymore, because they’re relied on showing action scenes instead of telling a simple story with characters that have care or any purpose. But Enemy of the State is one of the best! Directed by the late Tony Scott, he has made one of the best action-thrilling films in his career, since True Romance, and Crimson Tide, where some of his other ones Top Gun, Man on Fire, and Unstoppable, were just ok.
Enemy of the State is about a lawyer named Robert Dean, played by Will Smith, who is given a tape containing a Congressman’s murder that is tied to the evil NSA official, Thomas Reynolds, played by Jon Voight, in the midst of a surveillance and privacy act bill being signed. But he doesn’t know anything about it, so he has to fight off these NSA operatives who are going out of their way to get the tape from him, by humiliating him, discredit him, and ruining his life. Until he meets former governmental communications expert, Edward “Brill” Lyle, played by Gene Hackman, where he’s connected to an old friend of Dean’s.
This movie also has an all-star cast including Jon Voight, Regina King, Jason Robards, Barry Pepper, Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore, and Gabriel Byrne. Also comic actors, like Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, and Jack Black! Tony Scott had a knack for directing high-octane action flicks, with the highest-paid Hollywood actors, including his collaborator Denzel Washington. While his brother Ridley, has directed great, if not good, atmospheric action-thrilling movies like Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and The Martian. Tony Scott reminds me of Michael Bay, except I can tell Tony cares about making his movies that isn’t about just showing action scenes. I also loved the score, even the one that was played in the opening and end credits by the way!
This was a Will Smith movie that I haven’t seen before, and it adds up my favorites with him in it like Bad Boys 1&2, Men in Black, and I Am Legend, until last night. Sure they were pretty entertaining, and were fun to watch, but I’ll have to say, Enemy of the State is one of his best films for now! Also seeing was great Gene Hackman, after watching him in The French Connection, Mississippi Burning, and Unforgiven. They both gave out great acting and chemistry in this movie from the late ‘90s that is thought-provoking, bone-chilling, and intense as hell! It felt right being set in that time when the U.S. government using security and surveillance was becoming popular where people today, are still feel they’re being watched by them, when they should be going after the real criminals!
Before I end this review, it is also one I need to get my girlfriend to watch if she could get in the mood of watching something old, because she’s tired of me watching something old when we’re together, but I bet if this came out today, she’d probably watch it. I’m gonna get her into watching something that’s not new and she’ll thank me for showing it one day! Also this is one I checked out from the library and it only had the extended director’s cut, so I’m gonna look for the theatrical cut and see which one is better when I can find it.
I’m giving Enemy of the State 4 stars!