Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie Review: Enemy of the State

The term enemy of the state is usually reserved for who has acted, is acting, or intends to act against the nation they are a member of and thus is a synonym of traitor. This is in contrast to an enemy combatant who is understood to be a member of some other nation. An enemy of the state is usually understood to be engaging in treason, but the term is sometimes extended to include social and/or political dissidents.[1] This film, which is kind of a modern take on The Man Who Knew Too Much, considers multiple scenarios where someone acts as or is treated as an enemy of the state (in this case, the United States of America [2]). I'll leave it up to you to figure out which character the title refers to.

My verdict: The film has plenty of action and maintains a decent pace. The acting is generally believable and I was surprised to see both Jack Black and Seth Green in serious roles. It's ridiculous that Will Smith's character doesn't figure out right away that the government agents—who showed up hours before asking for the disk—were behind everything that happened soon after. His wife is also ridiculous; there's nothing else that can be said about her—it's her only and defining characteristic. The scene where Reynolds and his granddaughter show up on their own television was rather chilling and really emphasizes the warning the film is trying to make. The Mexican standoff at the end (and the way it was set up) was a nice twist, though the way it was triggered didn't make sense.

DISCLAIMER: I watched this film as edited for television. I have not seen the original R-rated version and cannot comment on its appropriateness.[3]


[1] See of the State.

[2] The MacGuffin is an act being considered by the U. S. Congress which would greatly expand the ability of security agencies to surveil the citizenry of the nation. Ironically, it was only three years after the premier of this movie that the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, which greatly expanded the ability of security agencies to surveil the citizenry of the nation.

[3] For more info, I suggest you consult the reviews at of the state 1998  368.htm and of the state.html.

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