This is a 1998 Spy-Thriller about Will Smith, a DC lawyer who bumps into an old friend in a shop, he receives evidence for a politically motivated murder; he is then on the run from NSA agents who are hunting him down using surveillance technology.
(The trailer is below for “Enemy Of The State:)
Information about the film:
- Director- Tony Scott, an English film director covers a range of genres, but mainly crime thrillers including “The Fan” (1996), “Spy Game” (2001).
- Producer- Jeremy Bruckheimer’s best known films are Bad Boys, Pirates of the Caribbean, Top Gun, plus many more.
- Written by- David Macroni an American screenwriter.
- Actors- Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Stuart Wilson, Regina King, Jack Black,Lisa Bonnet, Jon Voight and many others star in this film.
To start with, the opening credits introduce the audience to the title of the film: “Enemy Of The State”, which is in bold white typography text, almost as if it’s written in a coded way as some of the letters are incomplete. This hints at the idea that the film is related to the themes of crime, for the reason that the police use coded language.
Also the title is over-layering a long shot of the landscape belonging to Washington DC; therefore, providing information on the location/setting for this film. But as this shot rapidly zooms into the tall building, there’s a cut to reveal the exact same shot. I think that this repeated aspect, only 0:02 seconds into the opening credits, implies that the film has a sense of chaos and disorder. Moreover, the fast past music helps establish the theme of the film by grabbing the audiences attention towards what’s shown onscreen.
Next, not only are the audience on the edge of their seats because of the sudden transition (jump cut) from a long shot to a birds eye view shot of a street in Washington, but the fact that this is spiralling/moving rapidly; creating a sense of disorientation and confusement. We can then link the film to the idea of the surveillance law as the bird eye view shot makes it seem like a satellite, recording data.; something watched by a a law enforcement officer. In which the film is centred around the character Dean (Will Smith) running away from the corrupt government.
This then continues, as there are several birds eye view shots of different streets with blue lines highlighting certain aspects of the shot. For instance the screenshot below taken from the opening credits, demonstrates how the lines highlight a car which is driving on the motorway. This makes it seem like the surveillance law have the government spying on people; giving them quite a negative light, even though we have no idea who we are disliking at this point.
The close up shots of a camera twisting to face the audience, hints at how the government watch everyone, including us the audience; making us feel tense and unease as we don’t know what to expect in the film, if the corrupt government spy on people regularly, it may mean they use it for blackmailing people…
Adding to our tense emotions, the constant use of jump cuts showing the close up shots of the camera, intensify our anticipation towards the film, I felt like I needed to know the answer to why the government are spying on people. I also noted that there were sound effects of clinking noises, to give the impression of the camera taking pictures. This only happens when we see the camera pointing directly at the audience. Meaning that we feel as if we are in the position of those living in the diegesis of the film, as it seems like the camera is taking pictures of the audience.
After this happens, the music then increases in volume, almost deafening for the audience as the loud, high pitch noises screech whilst there’s close up shots of the CCTV highlighting cars and trucks; suggesting that the government have targeted their suspects and are moving in on them, close to arresting them. I think this has been used to reveal that in the film, the government/police are trying to hunt down someone, perhaps a criminal or just a normal citizen who they suspect has done something.
The genre of action, crime and thriller has been presented so far in the film, for the reason that the mise-en-scene of cars can suggest that there will be a car chase scene between a criminal and the government, (a convention of the crime genre), the editing consisting of jump cuts creates a fast pace speed applicable to the action genre, and the emotions of anticipation and tenseness relate to the feelings associated with the thriller genre.
At 0:24 there’s a combination of suspenseful music with police sirens; merged together to build up tension, in which the sirens covey a sense of danger/panic. This occurs when the shot of a car chase with a police car and another vehicle is sync with the non diegetic sound; as evident below:
The same sound is used a couple seconds later, when a wide shot reveals a tunnel leading into darkness; metaphorically leading us on to believing that the film contains a dark element of evil. But the sound has an edit of an echo, connecting the audience into the film as we can relate that when in a tunnel you can shout and an echo will be reflected. Therefore, engaging the audience into the opening credits which the typography jumps on screen.
The editing technique of a graphic match is used when the bright lights off of the police car, shines and fills the screen linking to the next shot another police car’s sirens firing.
As well as, there are many dissolve edits, including one before the fast motion editof a man on a motorbike, and then one after; creating a fast pace manner where they present the theme of crime and mystery.
So the third dissolve edit portrays a man, a medium shot from behind him hiding his identity whilst watching CCTV footage; this then changes to a point of view shot, where the audience feel as if they are in his position of watching the footage. The use of blur on the back of his head, suggests that this person is secretly evil, although he is meant to be watching the footage for criminals, he is one himself (a little bit ironic…)
Some footage has blue lighting and others has a sepia effect on it, (those included below demonstrate this) to indicate the film is centred around crime and disorder. The two colours juxtapose one another and the jump cut gains the audiences attention as one second we see blue then the next it’s brown. Also adding more confusement to the opening credits.
Each shot reveals either people fighting or committing criminal offences; further reinforcing the theme of the film. For example: the tense music stops in sync with the sound effect of a punch which plays when a character in the footage smashes another person and then the sound effect of a gunshot plays when a bullet is fired.
However, the music changes to sounding more mysteriously quiet instead of being dramatic when the criminals were seen onscreen. This makes it seem like the police are also in some sort of trouble as the footage reveals them violently attacking so called “criminals”. Suggesting that people are vulnerable/victims to police brutality or corrupt governments.
Therefore, when hand held cameras are effectively used, it gives the opening credits an aspect of realism, where the events shown are existing in today’s society, not just in the diegesis of the film. I find that this makes me feel intrigued to see what’s actually shown in the film.
But the sound effects of a siren, which isn’t a police siren fades into the sound of a car crashing into a lorry, then a series of car incidents. All implying that the police create destruction as well as it isn’t just the criminals causing chaos in a city, due to the frequent use of jump cuts before each car accident.
Then a cut gives a long shot of the same location as presented in the beginning of the credits/video; so when it zooms out and a quick fade edit to an extreme long shot of the location with the white typography of the text, implies that the events in the film are a continuous cycle of corruption.
To finish the opening credits of “Enemy Of The State” is a blue and white shot (also known as a signification of satellite disturbance), further indicating the themes of crime, and the surveillance law will be expressed in the film.