Check In: Enemy of the State (1998)
A movie watched at its initial release in India in the late 90s, a second viewing was due in equal parts to its availability on BluRay at the local library as well as the fond memories of it being a thoughtful anti-government actioner without the usual Tony Scott headache inducing churns. Turns out that is both true & false. The star pairing works well, to begin with. Hackman channels what he learnt the hard way in Coppola’s The Conversation. Smith is at the height of his star power in the box office, playing the charmer trying to figure out what’s happening. There are a few soon to be famous names -Anna Gunn, Seth Green, Jack Black, Jason Lee to counter Jon Voight as a behind-the-scenes byreaucrat wielding the real power with an army of Boys From Brazil-products & Jason Robards in small role. Unfortunately, the scare mongering is unsubtle even though in the post-Snowdon NSA world it is all borne out to be valid. And the resolution too pat, after the exciting buildup. But still, a chilling precursor of things to come, with a jolt that comes when the Voight character’s date of birth turns to be 9/11.