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4.6 out of 5 stars167
4.6 out of 5 stars
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This film took a little time to take off in the beginning, but it was necessary to stage the action that would come later.

The movie opens with a powerful politician, played by John Voight, killing another politician who refuses to support a bill that would allow spying into people's lives to protect the country. That killing is caught on tape and the tape falls into the hands of a researcher who then slips the tape into a shopping bag carried by Will Smith's character.

From there the action takes off at a breathtaking pace. The parts are flawlessly acted - John Voight is the perfect embodiment of the stereotypical evil politician, Will Smith is the helpless victim, and Gene Hackman is the brilliant strategist who pulls the entire film together. I won't say more as I wouldn't want to spoil the suspense.

The thing about this movie is it seems so terrifyingly real. They show throughout the film, the tracking systems used (satellites and high end computer programs). I found myself thinking about this one for days after seeing it. It made me pause and wonder just how real the scenario could be and what it would mean to the general population.
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on 29 November 2001
After a spectacular opening sequence involving sirens, traffic jams, shootouts, tunnels and the Washington DC monument at sunset, Enemy Of the state provides fast paced action throughout, and a worrying plausibility.
Will Smith stars as Robert Dean, a wealthy DC labour lawyer who innocently becomes embroiled in the murder conspiracy of a congressman.
Gene Hackman appears as "Brill", a former NSA agent now working underground for his own personal financial benefit. Brills only friend is a cat, all to similiar to Crimson Tide(the animal being a Jack Russell there). Co stars include John Voight (Roosevelt in Pearl Harbour) who plays Thomas Reynolds, the man behind the conspiracy, and Jack Black from High Fidelity.
Hackman (as he usually does)steals the show as the hot tempered Brill who has been hiding from the world for 20 years. He is completely convincing in every line and action. Voight is also extremely convincing. His character is rigid and emotionless and not only does he play this personality trait well but he also physically moves rigidly as if made out of wood!
When it comes to Will Smith, one has to wonder why anyone would cast a hip-hop star into a tense and by no means funny political thriller. He just doesn't convince me as a successful lawyer who could command a court room hearing. Anyone who saw independence day can expect to see Smith in the same light in this film. He's the innocent bystander who knows nothing at the start and everything at the end.
Enemy of the State is a genuinely excellent film and one of the few i've seen in this Genre that suceeds in being both plausible and entertaining. Its also one of those films that leves you thinking after you've seen it, in this case about what goes on behind the closed doors of the intelligence community and what our taxes are really being spent on.
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on 25 July 2006
Enemy Of The State is a perfect example of how to pace an intelligent thriller. Right from the off this film is absolutely gripping. The plot is fairly complex yet such is the skill with which this film has been put together that the viewer never gets lost. Early on in the film when Will Smith realises that someone is after him there's a heart in your mouth chase scene that never seems to let up. This is part of the films strength, because the viewer is always aware that Smith is only ever minutes away from being caught. Even when things slow down momentarily to let the viewer catch up with any plot developments there's always an air of menace at what waits around the corner. Smith's performance is excellent and Gene Hackman as always does a sterling job as an ex CIA man. The ending is very nearly a tribute to director Tony Scott's own True Romance. If you like a decent intelligent thriller they don't come any better than this.
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on 9 April 2009
I completely agree with the previous reviewer,Enemy of the State is tremendous viewing,with great performances from all.
I have read a lot of reviewers saying that certain blu-ray films should be used as demo,s for the format,well,in my opinion,the blu-ray transfer of Enemy of the State is "up there" with almost any other disc,sharp,and I mean SHARP!!!
I,ve had the standard dvd for quite a while,and I was very pleased with the picture quality,and,if truth be told,I was very dubious whether the blu-ray version would be better quality,how wrong I was,the quality of the blu-ray version is stunning,imo.
If,like me and the previous reviewer,you like this film,you have to buy the blu-ray version,it,s one of the very best examples of the blu-ray format.
Davy,Scotland.
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on 20 July 2001
For all the hi-tech people out there this film is definately for you. The tension is amazing, Will Smith shines in possibly his best role after Men In Black and Jon Voight is on the best bad guys I have ever seen.
The action is great, especially the gun fight at the end, and also the chase near the start of the film with Danny Zavitz being pursued by NSA agents.
Sound wise this is also excellent. The opening credits throw bass at you from every direction. Crank up the volume.
The only reason I am giving this the 4 star treatment is because of the lack of extras, something that is quite usual for a Touchstone Pictures DVD. Not even a trailer. Come on Touchstone, release this again as a Special Edition and add some extras, commentary, trailer, documentary.
All in all a good film for all the Jerry Bruckheimer fans.
Buy it.
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Enemy of the State is a surprisingly good modern conspiracy thriller and one of the few that, for the most part, gets away with its `happy ending' as the tables are turned on the watchers with their own technology. But it's the early sections that impress the most, with Tony Scott embracing the visual possibilities of the plethora of different forms of everyday surveillance without losing sight of his plot. There's little doubt that Hackman's surveillance expert is two-parts The Conversation's Harry Caul a quarter of a century on, a justifiably paranoid watcher living off the net in an almost identical warehouse and cage, but this is much more of a populist entertainment than a character study, so rather than tearing up the floorboards he's more likely to blow up the whole building.

Neither profound nor subtle, it's not quite as superficial as the average blockbuster and is definitely a lot better than it has a right to be. It also boasts a surprisingly large number of unbilled players in its impressive cast, Tom Sizemore, Jason Robards, Seth Green and Philip Baker Hall among them.
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on 18 February 2002
This is a great DVD but lacks the extras. This means there is no in depth analysis of the film by its makers. However this action film (starring Gene Hackman and Will Smith) is one of the most exciting and suspenseful films ever made and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!
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HALL OF FAMEon 28 November 2002
"Enemy Of The State", is a good piece of entertainment from a duo of filmmakers that have brought many such pieces to the screen. Having said that, if we had 1% of the gee-whiz gadgets that this film had, and they worked with 1% of the efficiency that the film portrays, Osama Bin Laden would have been apprehended before midnight on September 11th. The balance of Al Qaeda would have been rounded up within a day or two. Orwell's vision in, "1984", is tame when compared to the absolute instantaneous control this film portrays the US Government as having over any citizen they pick.
A good story needs good actors and this film has at least a trio of fine performers. Will Smith is a man whose career is still just in the early stages of what should prove to be decades of success, and he already has one Oscar Nomination to his credit, Jon Voight already has an Oscar on his shelf, and one of my favorite actors without condition, Gene Hackman, adds yet another great performance to his resume of films.
There are real government agencies portrayed in the film, but they are portrayed in a science fiction like manner. No film crew is going to get inside of The NSA, and no amount of name dropping of publicly known satellite names, like "Keyhole", make this film's portrayal of data gathering any more believable. The NSA wishes they could do what this film gives them credit for. However if you really want to know what they can and cannot do, there are many very good books that share the little information that is in the public domain. Much of it is dated, but like the first Stealth F117-A fighter, when we (the public) were finally shown the plane, it was already an antique, an incredible and still very useful aircraft, but one that had been around for many, many years, and was already several generations old.
Watch this film for the pace and entertainment of a great chase from beginning to end. Just do not take the technology too seriously, and don't allow it to raise any level of paranoia you may have. One fact about The NSA that has been documented is that they can review less than half of what they collect. This is not due to their competence level, rather the shear volume their systems flag for review.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 September 2013
This is a forerunner of 24 - Complete Season 1-8 + Redemption (New Packaging) [DVD] in it's hi-tec portrayal of surveilance by the authorities of suspects(innocent or not).
The differance is that the baddies are the manipulaters of the cameras and satellites here,not CTU.
Extremely well done and exciting from start to finish,with superb performances from Smith,Voight and Hackman.

The question I ask is how does one megalomaniacal US politician get control of a whole department specializing in covert operations, with the use of sophisticated equipment, to further his agenda?

Heaven forbid.Thank goodness this is fiction.Or is it?

Highly recommended.
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A frantically cut action-packed surveillance romper about Jon Voight having way too much access to your personal life - Tony Scott's "Enemy Of The State" has been BLU RAY fodder for some years now.

But be aware that the 'US Disney' BLU RAY is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don't confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front - that won't help.

Buy the standard UK issue instead - it's cheap - a looker on BLU RAY and an enjoyable way to "blow up buildings because of a phone call"...
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