Scene Unseen:



Uexpected Visitors

Tony Scott's Enemy of the State is one of the few action films of the late 90s that has improved with age. Whilst some of the chase scenes look a bit tired, all of the performances are brilliantly entertaining from a dream cast, and the themes regarding surveillance and just how much privacy a human being is allowed in the modern world has turned out to be quite prescient. Watching chapter three of the dvd in particular will make you shudder though as lawyer Robert Dean's wife Carla harangues the television during a fictional episode of Larry King Live in which a Congressman Sam Albert is talking about the Privacy Bill at the centre of the film.
Carla:
Baby .. listen to this fascist gas bag?

Bobby:
Uh oh.
Then we hear on the television ?
Congressman Sam Albert:
Freedom always existed in a very precarious balance. When buildings start blowing up, people's priorities start to change.

Bobby:
He's got a point there sweety.

Carla:
Bobby?

Bobby:
I mean who is this idiot?

Carla:
He is talking about ending personal privacy. Do you want your phone tapped?

Bobby:
I'm not planning on blowing up the country.

Carla:
(sarcastic) Well how do we know until we've heard all your dirty little secrets?

Bobby:
You're just gonna have to trust me.

Carla:
Oh I know, we'll just tap the criminals. We won't suspend the rights of the good citizens.


Bobby:
Right.

Carla:
Then who decides which is which?

Bobby:
I think you should.

Carla:
Y'know Bobby, you should take this more seriously.

Bobby:
Honey, I think you're taking it seriously enough for the both of us. And half the people on the block.
Back to the TV ...
Congressman Sam Albert:
Tens of millions of foreign nationals living within our borders and many of these people consider the united states their enemy and they see acts of terrorism as ...
Shivers.

Carla and Bobby's arguments seem to mirror the general view of the subject throughout the world now - some of us saying that we should really watch out because surveillance is beginning to control out lives whereas some simply don't seem to care too much and just want to get on with our lives (just as Bobby keeps blending). The Congressman introduces a further interest that surveillance is necessary to catch the terrorists who (and remember this was 1998) are living in our borders, hate us and want to blow up our buildings. Enemy of the State is filled with these, what were then thematic mcguffins, now political hot potatoes, in a script that I would argue simply could not been written or made in the post 9/11 Hollywood. Now that I've used the single figure-slash-double figure, here it is again on Jon Voight's character Thomas Reynolds's photo id. It's his date of birth.



Shivers.

No comments:

Post a comment