Enemy of the State reviewed

As I conversed with my pal, he told me, ‘So it’s like Enemy of the State?’ We both had a laugh. ‘I hadn’t seen that one yet’. ‘Might be twenty years since released, but you should.’ I finally saw and finished the film in two sittings. The picture was indeed two decades old, but remains relevant in this climate of election scandals and NSA hacks.




Enemy stars Will Smith, John Voight, and Gene Hackman. Dean (Smith) is the up and coming defence attorney who has a young family and a nice house in the suburbs. Reynolds (Voight) is the high ranking politician who harbours a dark secret and is intent on keeping it hidden. Smith gets caught up in the crossfire, unwittingly gaining the damning tape in his possession. He was only doing his job, hawking for clients, when an old colleague slipped it onto his Christmas presents. The tape contains the evidence that Reynolds seeks to bury forever.

From a comfortable life in Washington D.C., Dean’s becomes a living hell. He suspects nothing, wonders why he is being targeted. For half the movie he does not realise that he has the damn tape. His infidelities, his finances, even the security of a home, all turn to ash overnight. Then, after contacting his mistress, he finds her slain. He meets the elusive Brill (Hackman), who points out the bugs. Initially reluctant to help, they join forces. Their decision to tandem reminds me of the adage ‘It takes two to tango.’ Dean was drowning against a torrent of villains, when Brill’s helping hand saved the day.



Appraising Enemy
It’s definitely one of action producer, Jerry Bruckheimer’s, better efforts. Many would argue that many of his movies are all loud bangs and have little to no story and character development at all. Well, this is a notable exception. A man is out for justice, eager to reclaim all that he’s lost. Dean must operate around the law, and a cloaked enemy hunts for him. Worst of all, this could happen to anyone. However, in the movies you could indulge some more: there’s a happy ending to please the audiences. This was an epic conclusion, complete with the mafia and pushy government types going toe-to-toe. Hopefully, our trial lawyer is still left standing after all the carnage.


I was kinda perturbed that Brill was a cat person. However, Dean may not succeed without his aid. Together, they manage to turn the tables on the baddies. Whatever the goons did, they could do better. Dean makes a big mistake, and the enemy was able to get their location. With all the Facebook debacle, Edward Snowden files, and wizard technology, our online footprint is growing more and more. We are all Attorney Deans. This movie showed the ills of big companies and flawed governments. The picture also reveals the consequence of a resourceful mind. There were many instances in the film where the light was almost extinguished, but Dean played his cards right. Most importantly, he found the right person to help him. In a way, the movie reminds me of a later Will Smith production, The Pursuit of Happyness. He was thrown into similar drab instances, but through sheer determination, he was able to see the light. Jack Black and Jason Lee also have limited roles in this one. A fine picture, Enemy held my attention for most of the two hours. Thank you for the recommendation.

Three stars (Out of four)



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