Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★

You have to love how two of the biggest Bruckheimer productions of the 90s explored what it would be like to place iconic characters and performances of yesteryear into hyper-stylised 90s action films. If The Rock placed Sean Connery's James Bond into "Die Hard on Alcatraz", then Enemy of the State takes The Conversation's Harry Caul and places him in the middle of a Tony Scott conspiracy thriller.

Incredibly, Enemy of the State has only become more prescient since 1998. It has all the hallmarks one wants from a Tony Scott-directed action thriller with Jerry Bruckheimer on producing duties, but it feels more like a prophecy from the late-90s warning of where surveillance culture could go and the action sequences, delivered with stylish gusto by Scott, almost feel less like preposterously entertaining action movie fodder as it did in 1998 and more like a horror film where the entire world can be hardwired to watch your every move.

Remarkably at a running time of two hours and twelve minutes this moves like a rocketship, displays a lot of wit and is genuinely funny at times, but it is also muscular in its observations of surveillance culture and usage of action cinema tropes. Smith is great in the lead, Voight smarmy as a right-wing villain (also no longer preposterous) and Hackman is so good here that it makes you realise just how empty a place the movies have been since he retired.

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