Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★

The most unbelievable thing about Enemy of the State in 2020 isn’t the computer’s 3D approximation and enhancing tech. Or that Will Smith’s lawyer on the run could evade the government’s eye for even a second. Or that he and Hackman’s off-the-grid ex-spy would be able to turn the tables on the NSA. It’s that a Republican congressman would be objecting against privacy being invaded and expanding the NSA’s power.

Enemy of the State in 2020 feels incredibly prescient in turning a mainstream thriller spotlight on digital privacy, digital surveillance, and government spying on its citizens, years before 9/11. And even kind of quaint, considering that today’s digital noose is even tighter, more integrated into everyday life, rendering our heroes’ escapes and evasions obsolete.

Tony Scott lights a first-act fuse that crackles with uncomfortable paranoia, before erupting into nonstop pursuit, car chases, and one hell of a finale shootout. Gene Hackman and Will Smith have such great chemistry, believably shifting from antagonistic to allies. Smith’s performance here tends to get overshadowed by his other ‘90s blockbusters, but it’s a gripping juggle of fraying confidence, angry anxiety, and breathless desperation. One of his best roles.

Christmas Score: 3/10 - Gift-shopping for the wife at the worst time, mob restaurant decked out for holidays

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