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Enemy of the State is a spy-thriller film directed by Tony Scott about a group of rogue NSAmarker agents who kill a Congressman in a political-related murder, and then try to cover up the murder by destroying evidence and intimidating witnesses. It was written by David Marconi and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film stars Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet and Regina King. It grossed over $250,000,000 USD worldwide ($111,549,836 domestically).


As the movie opens, Congress is close to passing legislation to expand surveillance powers of law enforcement agencies. Congressman Phil Hammersley (Jason Robards, uncredited) is trying to stop the bill because he believes it is an invasion of privacy, while Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) is trying to push the bill through to confront growing terrorist threats against the U.S.--and advance his own career. Hammersley, on making it clear he won't reconsider, is then killed with a syringe to the neck near a lake by David Pratt (Barry Pepper), one of two rogue NSAmarker agents loyal to Reynolds, who plant a bottle of heart medication near the body to make the death seem like a heart attack. However, a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz (Jason Lee) to monitor geese migration caught the entire incident.

When Zavitz views Hammersley's murder, he realizes that the news reports of a sudden heart attack are false and sends word to a friend of his, an anti-war activist and underground journalist. Zavitz is unaware that another of Reynolds' agents saw him retrieve the tape from the video camera, alerting them that Zavitz could have possibly videotaped the murder. He copies the tape onto a computer cartridge, and when NSA agents arrive, he hides the tape in a TurboExpress and escapes. Tracked by satellite and pursued by NSA agents, Zavitz bumps into an old friend from Georgetown Universitymarker, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) who is in a lingerie store shopping for a gift for his wife.

Dean had just come from a meeting with mafia members who control a labor union he is representing and beat up one of the members for not toeing the line. He had raised their ire by showing them a videotape of Pintero (Tom Sizemore) consorting with union officials, in violation of his parole. Pintero threatens to kill Dean within a week if he does not give them the name of the source.

While Dean hands Zavitz his business card, Zavitz drops the cartridge with the murder footage into Dean's shopping bag (without Dean's knowledge) and then flees. Pursued by NSA agents, Zavitz jumps onto a bike and rides down a busy street, where he is hit and killed by a firetruck. After finding Dean's business card on Zavitz's body, the agents visit Dean posing as detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. Unaware that Zavitz gave him the video, Dean tells them he has no knowledge of their allegations that he was passed "sensitive materials," denying them access to his bags without a warrant. Dean then tries to find these materials, but unbeknownst to him, his son had already removed the device from his shopping bags.

The next day the NSA agents break into Dean's house looking for the tape. While they do not find it, they plant tracking bugs in his clothes and personal items. They also plant audio and video bugs throughout his house, while ransacking it to cover their tracks and bugs. The NSA smears him with a false story about a love affair with Rachel Banks, an old girlfriend who acted as an intermediary between Dean and her contact, the source of the mafia tape. He is fired from his law firm and thrown out of the house by his wife. When he attempts to check into a hotel for the night, he learns his credit cards have been canceled and somebody has stolen his attaché case.

The NSA monitor a meeting between Rachel and Dean at Mt. Vernon Square where they learn that Rachel knows someone named "Brill." They can't find anyone named "Brill" but they manage to have Dean meet with someone who claims to be "Brill," but is in actuality an NSA agent (Gabriel Byrne) who was to bring him back to Reynolds's team. While in a taxi, the agent verbally slips up, alerting Dean to who he really is. But before the agent can kill Dean, a truck driven by the real "Brill" (Gene Hackman) smashes into their taxi, allowing Dean to escape.

Dean meets retired NSA agent Edward Lyle, the real "Brill", who shows him the bugs that have been planted in his belongings, and tells him the NSA is after him. When NSA agents chase Dean though the hotel, Dean escapes by climbing on the balconies from the roof, in the process removing his bugged clothes and stealing a robe, then setting the janitor's storage closet on fire to activate the fire alarm. While Dean is being transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, he steals a cop's gun, escapes from the ambulance and runs down a tunnel. The NSA agents are able to watch him by impersonating the DC Metro Police and having Tunnel Control relay to them Dean's movements on their security cameras. Dean escapes by giving his robe to a person doing street sweeping. Dean heads home and is able to convince his wife that he never had an affair with Rachel and after telling her everything he realizes that his son must have gotten hold of what Zavitz was trying to give him and quickly retrieves it. After Dean finds out that Rachel had been killed by Reynold's team to frame him for murder by planting the clothes he took off at the hotel in Rachel's apartment, he and Brill make contact and finally discover that they possess the murder video -- just minutes before it is destroyed in an attack by the NSA. Reynolds's team tracked them down after Dean carelessly made a phone call at a nearby convenience store.

While on the run, Brill reveals that he served as Rachel's contact because he and her late father worked together in the Shah's Iran and her father was murdered in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. When Dean says he will not leave his family per Brill's suggestion, they decide to engage in some guerrilla warfare against the rogue NSA agents. They use covert technology methods on a supporter of the surveillance bill, Congressman Sam Albert (Stuart Wilson), similar to those used on Dean, that catches him having an affair with his aide and exposes an illegal NSA operation to the NSA's top brass. They also plant evidence that Reynolds is corrupt and having an affair which angers his wife and gets his attention so they can arrange a meeting with him. Their plan is to incriminate Reynolds by recording his conversation with Brill about the conspiracy on tape, but Reynolds is able to stall them without revealing any incriminating evidence.

Dean and Brill are captured, and it is apparent that they will be killed in order to eliminate any witnesses. However, Fiedler audiotapes the conversation between Reynolds, Brill, and Dean. Dean turns the tables by claiming that the leader of the Pintero mafia family has the tape Reynolds is after. This leads the conspirators back to the Italian restaurant that Dean visited earlier in the movie, which he knows is under surveillance by the FBI. Dean then convinces Pintero that Reynolds made the tape of his meeting with the union leaders. Reynolds believes that the tape in question documents the Hammersley murder. The situation quickly becomes a Mexican standoff between the agents and mobsters, escalating into a firefight when one latecomer agent is suddenly shot by staff.

Dean and Brill are among the few survivors. Reynolds, Pratt, nearly all of the rogue agents involved in the conspiracy, and most of the mobsters – including Pintero – are killed. The FBI sweeps in and the plot behind the legislation is soon exposed. The only two surviving conspirators, NSA technicians Fiedler (Jack Black) and Jamie (Jamie Kennedy) are taken into custody by the FBI, and the NSA's involvement is covered up by the FBI, by implicating the late Pintero as the one who killed Rachel Banks. Sam Albert informs the media in an interview that the bill did not pass the legislature, and Dean is cleared of all charges and returns home with his wife, while Brill, who escapes to exile in a tropical location, sends a friendly message to Dean via his television set.


Actor Role
Will Smith Robert Clayton Dean
Gene Hackman Edward 'Brill' Lyle
Barry Pepper David Pratt
Jon Voight Thomas Brian Reynolds
Regina King Carla Dean
Ian Hart John Bingham
Lisa Bonet Rachel F. Banks
Jascha Washington Eric Dean
James LeGros Jerry Miller
Jake Busey Krug
Scott Caan Jones
Jamie Kennedy Jamie Williams
Jason Lee Daniel Leon Zavitz
Gabriel Byrne Fake Brill
Stuart Wilson Congressman Sam Albert
Jack Black Fiedler
Laura Cayouette Christa Hawkins
Loren Dean Loren Hicks
Dan Butler NSA Director Shaffer
Seth Green Selby (uncredited)
Tom Sizemore Pintero (uncredited)
Jason Robards Congressman Phil Hammersley (uncredited)
Philip Baker Hall Mark Silverberg (uncredited)


Although set in Washington D.C. and Baltimoremarker, most of the filming was done in Baltimore.

Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise were considered for the part that went to Will Smith, who took the role largely because he wanted to work with Gene Hackman and had previously enjoyed working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Bad Boys. George Clooney was also considered for a role in the film. Sean Connery was considered for the role that went to Hackman. The film's crew included a Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures consultant who also had a minor role as a spy shop merchant.


Enemy of the State was generally well-received by professional critics. Rotten Tomatoes presented a "71% fresh" rating for the movie, with forty-nine critics approving of the movie and twenty noting the film as "rotten;" similar results could be found at the website Metacritic, which displayed a normalized ranking of sixty-seven out of one hundred on the basis of the views of twenty-two critics. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times expressed enjoyment in the movie, noting how the movie's "pizazz [overcame] occasional lapses in moment-to-moment plausibility;" Janet Maslin of the New York Times approved of the film's action-packed sequences, but cited how it was similar in manner to the rest of the members of "Simpson['s and] Bruckheimer['s] school of empty but sensation-packed filming." In a combination of the two's views, Edvins Beitiks of the San Francisco Examiner both praised many of the movies' development aspects, and criticized how the concept that drove the movie from the beginning, the efficiency of government intelligence, lacked realism.

Box office

The film opened at #2, behind The Rugrats Movie, grossing $20,038,573 over its first weekend in 2,393 theaters and averaging about $8,374 per venue.


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