April 30, 2011

Enemy of the State - 1998

Director: Tony Scott
Writer: David Marconi
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Jason Lee, Jack Black, Seth Green

"Fort Meade has 18 acres of mainframe computers underground. You're talking to your wife on the phone and you use the word "bomb", "president", "Allah", any of a hundred keywords, the computer recognizes it, automatically records it, red-flags it for analysis. That was 20 years ago." After accidentally videotaping a murder committed by the NSA, Daniel Zavitz (Lee) drops the tape into the shopping bag of DC labor lawyer Robert Dean (Smith). Dean must get the tape to the proper authorities, whoever they might be, while being simultaneously discredited and pursued by NSA agents that will stop at nothing to cover up their actions.

Tony Scott's one of those poor, unfortunate souls who will always be overshadowed careerwise by a family member (in this case, his brother Ridley). However, Enemy is far more hit than miss. The actors all give great performances (even the surprising number of uncredited ones), the script moves quickly, and it's an incredibly prescient forerunner to the PATRIOT Act some years later, as well as future films covering the same themes such as Eagle Eye. Not something I regret not seeing on the big screen, but still reasonably entertaining. B+

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