Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1998. Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Scott Free Productions, No Such Productions. Screenplay by David Marconi. Cinematography by Daniel Mindel. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Music by Harry Gregson-Williams, Trevor Rabin. Production Design by Benjamin Fernandez. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon.
Tony Scott once again overdoes it with the flashy editing and melodramatic camera work in this rather hollow thriller, making his best effort to disguise a simple plot and shallow characters with high style and doing a very poor job of it. What there is to enjoy is actually not too bad an experience, a diverting plot about a successful lawyer (Will Smith) whose life is practically ruined when an old friend (Jason Lee) drops an incriminating video disc in his shopping bag that shows a conservative senator (Jon Voight) murdering another politician (Jason Robards). From there, Smith’s life is observed down to the minutest detail by state-of-the-art tracking devices that threaten to become a social norm if Voight’s character gets his way with a new anti-privacy bill. Smith teams up with an ex-FBI bug expert (Gene Hackman, doing a wry continuation of his character from The Conversation) to turn the tables and do unto his aggressors what they have done unto him. The screenplay’s set-up really lets you get into the story, but the end unravels far too quickly and would have done better to climax with a character’s intellectual sleight-of-hand rather than a loud gun battle. The ensemble cast also features an outstanding Regina King, Lisa Bonet, Jack Black and an unbilled Seth Green.