"Why are they after me'"--Robert Dean (Will Smith) "You have something they want."--Brill (Gene Hackman) "I don't have anything!"--Dean "Maybe you do and you don't know it."
"What the hell is happening'!"--Dean "I blew up the building."--Brill "Why'!"--Dean "Because you made a phone call!"
"If you live another day, I'll be very impressed."
- Brill to Dean
Rolling Stone - 12/10/1998
"...[A] dynamic thriller....[Will Smith] is sensational..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/08/1999
"...A high-adrenaline action thriller....Smith is a fresh choice..." -- Rating: B
USA Today - 12/11/1998
"...[A] brisk, grown-up thriller...Will Smith delivers a terrifically ingratiating performance..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
New York Times - 11/20/1998
"...It has a hurtling pace, nonstop intensity, and a stylish, appealing performance by Will Smith..."
Ultimate DVD - 07/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "Hackman is fantastic....[The film is] one of Scott's best."
Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a labor lawyer who is unknowingly in possession of evidence related to a serious politically motivated crime. Government agents eager to hide their guilt believe that Dean is on to them, and proceed to turn his life upside-down, ruin his reputation, and frame him for various incidents, thanks to the latest in high-tech government surveillance techniques. In an attempt to clear his name and reclaim his life, Dean teams up with the reclusive Brill (Gene Hackman), a former federal employee who has as much high-tech equipment and expertise as the government itself. Hackman's role is an extension of Harry Caul, the character he portrayed in Francis Ford Coppola's brilliant 1974 film, THE CONVERSATION. Smith scores as a man who is desperate to reclaim his identity and prove his innocence. This intense technological thrill-ride from director Tony Scott questions how much access the government should have to the communications of private citizens, and leaves the viewer with the unsettling feeling that Big Brother is definitely watching. Watch for the uncredited appearances of Jason Robards, Seth Green, Tom Sizemore, and Philip Baker Hall.
In Tony Scott's ENEMY OF THE STATE, a lawyer unwittingly discovers evidence of a serious politically-motivated crime. Federal agents eager to cover up their crime proceed to turn his life upside-down and ruin his reputation, thanks to the latest in high-tech surveillance techniques. The film features various connections to Francis Ford Coppola's brilliant 1974 film, THE CONVERSATION.
Theatrical release: November 20, 1998.
Filmed in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.
ENEMY OF THE STATE is closely connected to Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film, THE CONVERSATION, which also stars Gene Hackman. A past photograph of Hackman's character, Brill, in ENEMY OF THE STATE is actually a shot of Hackman as Harry Caul in THE CONVERSATION. It's implied that they are the same character under different aliases.
The film also shares similarities with Wim Wenders's THE END OF VIOLENCE, which shares actors Gabriel Byrne and Loren Dean, as well as a similar techno-surveillance theme.
Jason Robards, Philip Baker Hall, Tom Sizemore, and Seth Green make uncredited appearances in the film.