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Men, Fire

Movement 6A in a critical exquisite corpse project analyzing films by Tony Scott. This entry focuses on _Enemy of the State_ (1998).


This article is part of the critical project Tony Scott: A Moving Target in which an analysis of a scene from a Tony Scott film is passed anonymously to the next participant in the project to respond to with an analysis of his or her own.

<- the previous analysis | movement index | the next analysis ->

Enemy of the State: center(master)piece of Scott’s filmography, bridging the gap between two bifurcated halves of an oeuvre.

Scott has yet to depart the more conventional—still expressive—style of his earlier work, but technology begins to guide the narrative + aesthetics into the next stage of his cinema.

He anticipates the paranoia and national security anxiety that would heighten dramatically in post-9/11 America. Scott also anticipates his own post-9/11 cinema…

The opening credits, accompanied by Scott’s token stop/start musical score of orchestral rises and electro-rock crescendo bursts, a perfect distillation of late-Scott rapidity and abstraction.

Later: men, on fire, flee an explosion, alongside an (unstoppable) train.

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