Enemy of the State
February 7, 1999

I'm happy to say that the worst thing about this film was the smell, but that's Theater 2 for you.

Could it be that director Tony Scott has a good movie or two in him? This film was pretty exciting for an action movie, and had some very good chases. A few more movies of this quality and I maybe could forgive him for The Last Boy Scout. But then there's Days of Thunder... Top Gun... Beverly Hills Cop II.....

Will Smith was very good as the lead. I used to think he was lousy (I thought he was weak in Independence Day and Men In Black), but performances like this one, as well as his starring role in Six Degrees of Separation, have changed my mind. Okay, okay, any way, congratulations, Will.

Gene Hackman, playing former National Security Agent Brill, is very good, but when isn't he good? He's one of my favorite actors. Sure, Brill is very similar to Hackman's portrayal of Harry Cawl from Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, but I enjoyed watching him nonetheless.

It seems like Gene Hackman is tapering off on his previous six-movies-per-year policy. I know this exhausting schedule made him act in some lousy movies (Loose Cannons with Dan Ackroyd comes to mind), but now I miss his constant presence. Gene, I hope you still make a lotta movies, but if you're only making a few, just stick to the ones you really want to do, I guess.

The movie steals heavily from The Conversation, particularly in a multiple-microphone surveillance scene of a meeting between Smith's character and Lisa Bonet (a.k.a. the bohemian Cosby who married and divorced Lenny Kravitz). The film also lifts a scene out of The Marathon Man, where a man pretending to be Brill tries to wheedle information out of Smith.

These lifts really didn't bother me too much. To be honest, while The Conversation had some great moments, I never liked the film too much. And I don't want to offend anybody, but The Marathon Man was an hour too long. I really wasn't bothered by all the pilfering regardless, maybe because Enemy was so different in tone.

It seems like 75% of the films I see at the Davis have Jon Voight in them. This one pushes the average up a bit. Voight wasn't half-bad! Cheers, Master Thespian!

I liked the film's hyperactive camera style, lots of jittery motion and surveillance camera imagery. It was very effective at creating a hysterical mood as Smith was being pursued and basically having his life wrecked by "the bad guys."

Okay, I've shilled enough for Tony Scott (and pondscum producer Jerry Bruckheimer). I haveta go take a shower.

See you at the movies. Save me the unstained seat.