Thursday, 5 May 2011

A-Z #75: Enemy of the State

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#75 - Enemy of the State 

Why did I buy it?

Early in the days, before I even owned a DVD-player, we had a DVD player on the PC. My first DVD I owned - the first ever? Goldeneye. The one-disc, trailer-and-commentary-only package. But my sister had a friend who had two DVD's. More importantly, she let us borrow them and, alongside The Craft was Enemy of the State. Suffice to say, I liked Enemy of the State enough to buy it myself in due course.

Why do I still own it?

The film has Will Smith in a thriller role. Almost akin to North by Northwest, as Smith plays the man-who-has-done-nothing-wrong-but-gets-caught-up-in-some-big-scandal situation. Combine that with 1998 technology and Gene Hackman reprising his role from The Conversation and, voila, Enemy of the State. There are some oof-beat actors littered throughout - Jason Lee, Jamie Kennedy, Seth Green, Jack Black - all playing very serious roles. No jokes. No Mallrats-comedy or Nacho-Libre-puns and Austin-Powers-jokes. [semi-] Serious acting. This alongside Jon Voight, Gabriel Byrne, Barry Pepper and Tom Sizemore. Did I mention Gene Hackman and Will Smith?

I love the pace of Tony Scott and the use of the satellite cameras as we scan rooftops and busy roads, really giving a sense of constant-surveillance. It drags a little bit towards the end but, all in all, its a great film. Though, having watched it multiple times, I still don't get the bit at the end when Will Smith is looking at Gene Hackmans old-man legs and grinning ...  almost aroused by those legs on a beach ... and waving like a loon at the camera a-top his TV ... still a very strange ending ...
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  1. I really like this movie too. Early Jack Black and Seth Green are fun too. The way they use the satellite images does make you a bit afraid of the constant monitoring that is possible.

  2. An actually pretty good and thrilling Tony Scott film probably because Will Smith is always so good at playing compelling leading men that we can get behind. Good Review!

  3. @Jess - The strange thing about all the technology is that, now, it is all out of date. I'll bet satellites even look completely different now.

    @Dan O. - I think it is funny because I'll be you could group certain Tony Scott films together. Off the top of my head, MAN ON FIRE and DOMINO have a very similar kinasthetic energy to them.

  4. I'm a big fan of this film as well. Such a tight little thriller from before Tony Scott went completely over the top

  5. I like this one very much! Gene Hackman is almost playing Harry Caul 30 years later and I like your resemblance between it and North by Northwest. I totally agree on it but never saw that myself before reading your post.

  6. @Tom - I think it remains pretty strgon as a film despite the dated technology. I mean, Google-Maps pretty much does the same thing... though not in real time.

    @Joel - I think we all know that Hitchcock generally feeds into most thrillers! When your stuck for an idea, Hollywood turns to Hitchcock

  7. This flick thinks it's smarter than it is (by comparison, I'd say that Scott's Spy Game actually is smarter), but I still agree with y'all. It's a fun ride, not hurt by the awesome cast. Fast-paced, nods to The Conversation, and Smith just always makes for an appealing lead, even in not-so-great flicks (like I Am Legend).

  8. @fletch - i shall hunt down spy game then!


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