Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a lawyer with a wife and family whose happily normal life is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a college buddy (Jason Lee) at a lingerie shop. Unbeknownst to the lawyer, he's just been burdened with a videotape of a congressman's assassination. Hot on the tail of this tape is a ruthless group of National Security Agents commanded by a belligerently ambitious fed named Reynolds (Jon Voight). Using surveillance from satellites, bugs and other sophisticated snooping devices, the NSA infiltrates every facet of Dean's existence, tracing each physical and digital footprint he leaves. Driven by acute paranoia, Dean enlists the help of a clandestine former NSA operative named Brill (Gene Hackman) and Enemy of the State
kicks into high-intensity hyperdrive. Teaming up once again with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun
director Tony Scott demonstrates his glossy style with clever cinematography and breakneck pacing. Will Smith proves that there's more to his success than a brash sense of humour, giving a versatile performance that plausibly illustrates a man cracking under the strain of paranoid turmoil. Hackman steals the show by essentially reprising his role from The Conversation
--just imagine his memorable character Harry Caul some 20 years later. Most of all, the film's depiction of high-tech surveillance is highly convincing and dramatically compelling, making this a cautionary tale with more substance than you'd normally expect from a Scott-Bruckheimer action extravaganza. --Jeremy Storey
The National Security Agency is a covert organisation whose secret activities are protected by a state-of-the-art surveillance network operated by a team of first-rank techno-boffins. When a videotape proving their involvement in a recent political assassination falls into the hands of Washington DA Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith), the Agency do everything they can to encourage Dean's silence. But Dean is determined to reveal the truth, and teaming up with veteran anti-establishment surveillance expert Edward Lyle (Gene Hackman), he decides to play the government spies at their own game.
Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a lawyer who is unknowingly in possession of evidence related to a serious politically motivated crime. Government agents eager to hide their guilt believe that Dean is on to them and proceed to turn his life upside-down, ruin his reputation and frame him for various incidents--thanks to the latest in high-tech government surveillance techniques. In an attempt to clear his name and reclaim his life, Dean teams up with the reclusive Brill (Gene Hackman), a former federal employee who has as much high-tech equipment and expertise as the government itself. Hackman's role is an extension of Harry Caul, the character he portrayed in Francis Ford Coppola's brilliant 1974 film, The Conversation
. Smith scores as a man who is desperate to reclaim his identity and prove his innocence. This intense technological thrill-ride from director Tony Scott questions how much access the government should have to the communications of private citizens, and leaves the viewer with the unsettling feeling that Big Brother is definitely watching. Watch for the uncredited appearances of Jason Robards, Seth Green, Tom Sizemore, and Philip Baker Hall.
Gene Hackman Enemy Of The State