Friday, December 9, 2011


On the fifteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Tony Scott's action thriller Enemy of the State (1998). Although this hyperbolic, big-budget blockbuster shares little in common tonally or stylistically with Lynch's films, its plot about a conspiracy disintegrating a man's reputation, finances, and personal life to coerce him into doing a mysterious villain's bidding is Lynchian. We can see parallels with Will Smith's Robert Dean and the young director Adam Kesher in Mulholland Dr. (2001). Enemy of the State also pays homage to Francis Ford Coppola's even Lynchier film The Conversation (1974).
Will Smith's Robert Dean goes Christmas shopping in Washington, D.C. and stumbles across an old friend (Jason Lee) who is troubled by something. The friend leaves before revealing the nature of his troubles, but secretly leaves something behind in one of Dean's shopping bags. The friend winds up dead in the street outside the store, leaving Dean the target of a powerful group whose power and control over Dean's life is immediate and total. Dean teams up with a former N.S.A. agent played by Gene Hackman, the star of aforementioned The Conversation. Together they hope to turn the tables on their shared enemy and restore Dean's good name.
Enemy of the State might have felt more Lynchian had it centered subjectively on Will Smith's character's point of view, but instead the film divides its attention equally between all the parties involved in the plot. But this conceit makes the film terrifying in an entirely different way, by showing government's modern surveillance capabilities and intelligence gathering techniques. Although common practice now in our Post-9/11 world of 24 (2001-10), Enemy of the State (1998) was groundbreaking for its time. The film posits that literally any aspect of your life can be monitored, studied, exposed, and manipulated against you. Terrifyingly, Enemy of the State's most Lynchian and paranoia-inducing aspects are practically commonplace in today's world and our rights to personal privacy evaporate.

Previous Article
14TH DAY: PSYCHO (1960)
Next Article

Note: Any purchase made via our web store or product links throughout the article contributes a small portion to the running of this site. Thank you for your support.

247086_TV episodes & movies instantly streaming from Netflix. Start your FREE trial!

No comments:

Post a Comment