Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Enemy of the State


An above-average thriller of the innocent-man-on-the-run type. Will Smith unknowingly gets involved in the hunt for a videotape that shows the murder of a senator by henchmen of the CEO of a company that specializes in surveillance and does a lot of business with the NSA. He eventually hooks up with super-paranoid—and rightly so, we soon discover—Gene Hackman, who is the man who set up a lot of this NSA stuff in the first place. And it’s a thrill-a-minute ride, for sure, having been produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Tony Scott.

I wasn’t quite clear on how much of the totally illegal activities we see here were done by the government and how much was private, but it’s all pretty scary no matter who it is that’s zeroing in satellites on your black ass, and tracking you with other high-tech shit. This was a little ahead of its time, and many pointed out that much of this stuff was made up, but it’s been sixteen years now, and the Big Brother State has grown exponentially in that time. I no longer feel dubious about any snooping tactic I hear about. How paranoid am I? I keep a strip of tape over that little webcam lens that’s about fourteen inches from my face at this very moment, a webcam that I didn’t want in the first place since I don’t Skype. Can someone spy on me with that thing? I have no idea. But why not cover it up?