Enemy Of The State (1998)


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 .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

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 () drops an incriminating video disc in his shopping bag that shows a conservative senator () 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, ,  and an unbilled Seth Green.

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