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 Enemy of the State
My Rating:

Sheer Video Perfection!

Gooden Worsted's Bitable Bytes:
"Had me sitting on the edge of my seat!"
"Enough to drive anyone into paranoia!"
"Surprising and extremely exciting!"

This is an intense telecom-thriller that would have had me sitting on the edge of my seat were I not reclining on a futon while watching it. For pure entertainment, it doesn't get much better than this.

The action of Enemy is driven by the ubiquitous communication media and the power of government, police, and business to monitor all transactions that flow over every communication channel. Although this power seems inflated for the sake of this film, the idea is valid. The available information on us from our phone conversations, credit card purchases, e-mails, faxes; our appearance on security cameras and security satellites­the sheer enormity of the ways in which we can be monitored­is enough to drive anyone into paranoia. But real-world resources aren't great enough for all the agencies that might be interested in who we are and what we do to monitor and manipulate us.

However, in the world of Will Smith's labor lawyer character, the power does exist­in the hands of political criminals. The action starts when the murder of a congressman happens to get video-taped. The video-taper begins to transfer the information over the Internet, but he gets noticed. Now he's the target of killer secret servicement. Will Smith becomes entwined in the dangerous game by a million-to-one fluke. (And it's not the only one in the movie.)

Once the action begins it does not stop as Will runs from omniscient Big Brother. His confidant and sexual-tension repository, played well by sexy Lisa Bonet, becomes a victim of the baddies with the enormous eyes in the skies. It isn't until he meets Gene Hackman that Will finds some sanctuary. Hackman plays a techno-jammer, well-versed in the power and process of the watchers. As such he is singularly capable of evading detection. When he becomes helplessly entangled in this snowballing "situation," he and The Fresh Prince stage a mini-revolution, poking the Big Camera right in the eye.

The climax is surprising and extremely exciting. I recall bouncing up off the futon at this point. Only the dénouement left anything to be desired. I suppose the directors of this film realized how long it was and apologetically cut the aftermath short. Smith, returned to his normal life, seems totally unchanged after being exposed to the deeply perturbing nature of his reality. If someone revealed to me that I was being watched around the clock by government-protected murders, I would never get back to normal tv-watching life even if I'd watched said murderers get their just desserts. Then again, I'm not the heart-throb of the mainstream millions. I'm Gooden Worsted, Video Venturer.

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