Door 21 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) Films and conspiracy theories abound as Will Smith unexpectedly finds himself to be an Enemy Of The State.
Cos it turns out that, apparently, the National Security Agency don’t like not getting their own way, and will happily murder people who don’t agree with them.
Which is a worrying thing if you live in the US, I’d imagine.
Although this was back in 1999. I’m sure they’ve cleaned up their act by now. And there’s not really any need for conspiracy theories these days if you’re American. You know your government’s out to get you. They’re pretty open about it.
But back in 1999, you didn’t expect government agencies to be going around killing their own people.
And if they were going to do that, you’d hope they’d make the effort to ensure that no ornithologists were filming them by accident.
Fortunately for the plot, in 1999 technology was not quite as advanced as it is today. So when the unfortunate bird watcher, Daniel Zavitz (Jason Lee) finds the footage he’s mistakenly filmed, he’s forced to copy it onto a disk, which takes a long time, instead of just uploading it to social media where it can be shared instantly with millions of people, exposing the bad guys and probably not resulting in Gary Busey’s son trying to kill him.
Instead, he’s forced to hide the disk in a portable gaming device (remember those? Before phones did everything?) and hide it in his old college friend’s bag when he runs into him in a lingerie shop.
Thus is it that Robert Clayton Dean (Smith) finds his world is turned upside down and he is forced to go on the run.
From his own government.
Who prove surprisingly inept at tracking him down.
Enemy Of The State is utter nonsense of course, but it’s thoroughly engaging nonsense.
Smith plays the same character he plays in most of his films. I’m not complaining, he plays it very well. Gene Hackman appears about halfway through the action and the film is decidedly better for his arrival. Jon Voight is the bad guy and his understated performance adds an air of credibility to the madness.
Enemy Of The State is very much of its genre. If you like a fast-paced action film which doesn’t expect too much of its audience then it delivers pretty much exactly that. Tony Scott is the director and this is pretty typical of his oeuvre.
It doesn’t offer anything hugely original but it’s no less enjoyable for that.
Score For Christmasishness
Like many of the films I’ve included in this month of movie merriment, it’s set around Christmas time.
Indeed it’s when Robert is Christmas shopping for his wife that he happens upon the lingerie store and inadvertently gets caught up in the action.
But, although there are decorations in the background for most of the film and we hear the odd snippet of Christmas carol singing in the distance, I’m not sure the Christmas setting adds much to the plot.
Nonetheless Christmas is there for all to see. Even the bad guy has decorations up in his office.
It’s a stretch to call this a Christmas movie, but it is definitely a bit Christmassy at times.