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Enemy of the State Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    To say Enemy of the State is senseless is an understatement. This is a movie where logic is the enemy.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    A high-adrenaline, high-concept action thriller that mixes hot-button issues of privacy and surveillance, easy-to-identify good and bad guys, attention-getting stars, and well-choreographed chase scenes.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    It offers a solid two hours of pure, escapist entertainment.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    In too much of a hurry to be much of a people picture. And the standoff at the end edges perilously close to the ridiculous, for a movie that's tried so hard to be plausible.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The picture is solidly crafted, performed to the hilt and full of humor.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Late-'90s action movie has frequent profanity, violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Enemy of the State is a 1998 action movie with frequent profanity, action-style violence, and sexual content, including references to oral sex and infidelity. While the movie does show the machinations of a pre-9/11 government agency determined to a ruin the life and credibility of a man in possession of filmed evidence of spies killing a Congressman, the primary focus is on the nonstop action. There are also racial slurs: an African-American lawyer is referred to as an "eggplant," and Italian-American mobsters are called "guidos."

  • Families can talk about the issues raised by balancing the right to privacy with the need for protection. How does this movie convey this message?
  • How does the movie attempt to balance its message of showing the extent and scope of the surveillance state with the need to be an entertaining action movie?
  • Do you think this movie would have been much different if it had come out after 9/11? Why or why not?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: While the movie is filled with messages on the scope and reach of surveillance in our society, the primary focus is the action itself.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: While an argument could be made that at least two of these characters are resisting the intrusiveness of the surveillance society as manifested by the NSA, these characters are also action-movie archetypes straight out of the Jerry Bruckheimer school of late '90s formulaic blockbuster movies.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Frequent action-movie violence. A man on a bike is shown being killed by riding in front of a fire truck. During the opening credits, a series of car crashes are shown overhead. A woman is found dead in her bathroom from an apparent suicide. Frequent explosions and gunfire. A man gets shot in the head. Characters shoot at each other from point-blank range, resulting in numerous deaths.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A Congressman is spied on in his hotel room receiving oral sex from a woman; while no body parts are shown, the motions and gestures make it obvious what is happening. After being asked questions about an extramarital affair he has had by his employers, the lead character asks one of them if he masturbates in the shower. During a scene in a lingerie store, a female employee dressed in lingerie asks the lead character for the breast size of his wife. His wife is later shown in the lingerie as they begin to flirt in a provocative manner. When the lead character and his wife make insinuations about having sex, their young son asks, "Are you guys talking about sex?"

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent profanity. The f-word is used on a regular basis. Members of the mafia refer to an African-American lawyer as an "eggplant." Italian-Americans are referred to as "guidos."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Pills are placed around a politician's head to look like a suicide after he is murdered.