An Analysis of Enemy of the State
Enemy of the State is a classical tale of good versus evil, complete with a tortured hero and a powerful villain. The plot revolves around Washington lawyer Robert Dean (Will Smith), an average family man, who suddenly finds his life turned upside down when an old acquaintance slips a video tape that no one is supposed to ever see into his shopping bag. The tape contains footage of the murder of a United States senator by a member of the National Security Agency (NSA). When agents at the NSA get word that Dean is in possession of the tape, they proceed to ruin his career, drive him from his home, and threaten his life in an attempt to get the tape back. Thus begins Dean’s fight for survival and his struggle to regain what has been taken from him. Along the way, he crosses paths with Brill (Gene Hackman), a former NSA agent who hates his old employer. With Brill’s help, Dean uses high-tech gadgetry and sheer personal determination to turn the tables on the government that wants to destroy him. Told in a classical narrative style, Enemy of the State takes an ordinary man and, through turning his world upside down, forces him to become a reluctant hero. Smith’s Robert Dean is the clear protagonist of the film. Targeted for a downfall by an all-powerful, faceless government, Dean must fight this seemingly invincible enemy to restore order to his fragmented world. We sympathize with Dean because he is so ordinary; he could be any one of us, and we root for him all the way through the film. The government acts as the rival in this film, corrupt with power and packed with evil. Each time we see to what lengths the government will go to destroy one man it sends a shiver down our spine, because part of us believes that this could be real. The truly frightening thing is that this could be real. David Marconi, who wrote the screenplay, spent months researching the real NSA and the high-tech gadgetry they use, and...
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