I was having a discussion with a much younger person, a college freshman, who was talking enthusiastically about how much she accomplishes on the internet: banking, investing, shopping, updating her information on Facebook. I suggested that she read George Orwell's 1984, Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale and watch the movie The Net. Also to check out what happened during the 2003 North East Blackout when debit cards wouldn't work, computers stopped, cell towers were overloaded so it was hard to make a call and if you needed a card to enter a building, you're out of luck. This BBC drama takes the whole scenario even further to demonstrate the good and the bad of using surveillance technology to protect us as long as we are considered "the good citizens." You don't have to be particularly paraniod to see how many of the things written about in 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale have become matters of course.
This series has excellent acting, plenty of suspense and makes you want to watch it all in one viewing. It's entertaining as well as thought-provoking.
on June 30, 2009
An intriguing thriller based on the fear that government can and eventually will endorse a 24/7/365 total approach to control and 'right think' a populace ala Orwell's Big Brother.
As London has become the de facto standard in regards to CCT video, advances in heuristic computer modeling via known association, and biometric recognition software - 'Enemy' drops a brilliant computer engineer into this coming world via the mysterious death of his estranged brother, a well-known and respected field aid worker helping the less fortunates of the world. A brother that may have stumbled into an international cover-up of a possible global pandemic.
Equally terrifying and powerful, this stark well-made BBC production (a standard that we in the US should strive for IMO) has already been added to my library.
on August 10, 2009
If you like a thrilling conspiracy story then this is the DVD for you. A very compelling movie, it deals with the government's ability to monitor citizens' every movement, financial transaction, what they buy and possibly even deduce their thoughts through a "super computer" program that the British government is attempting to implement. Throw in some shady characters, all with unknown agendas and the threat of a possible biological attack you have several hours of great entertaimnent. Be prepared to sit down and watch this movie from beginning to end because once it grabs your interest you can't wait to see the outcome. Great acting, interesting characters and a well produced DVD make this a very entertaining and worthwhile investment. There are many plot surprises along the way so don't think you have this figured out until the end. One of the best TV dramas I have seen in quite awhile.
I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started watching "The Last Enemy". I actually thought it was stand alone DVD, not a multi-disc miniseries. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it went on for multiple episodes. By the end of the first episode I was hooked.
Without giving any details away, the gist of the main storyline is that entities in the government in Great Britain are working to implement T.I.A. (Total Information Access), a network of data feeds that includes banks, stores, transportation systems, surveillance cameras, and any data source that requires the use of an ID card, bank card, etc. This is being done to increase statewide security against the possibility of terrorist activities, etc. Of course, this kind of total info access can be used for all kinds of agendas...
...enter our main character, a world renowned Mathematician who has been out of country for several years, living more or less in isolation, to attend a funeral. When he gets home he discovers that there have been MANY changes in his absence. And so the story begins.
As the story progresses you won't know which way to turn, who is on whose side, and what everyone is after. This is top-flight made-for-TV drama and suspense.
I have to admit that I did not care personally for some of the interpersonal situations that were presented from time to time, though one did add to the storyline.
This is a not too futuristic version of Big Brother is Watching. The acting is strong, and the story line is engaging.
All in all, I'd say this is a very good offering, I can recommend it, with just a a few personal reservations.
on July 30, 2012
I liked this mini-series. I wandered in looking for more of Benedict Cumberbatch's work after seeing his great performance in "Sherlock" (which I give 5 stars). This multi-episode story held my attention throughout, and Cumberbatch played well a genius astounded at what was unfolding around him. You can't look away from the screen though because they don't dumb it down for you. One must pay attention. Yes, there are definitely some holes in the fabric the filmmakers weave, as well as some thin spots you could easily rip wide open... but I am going thumbs up on the drama as a whole. I cared about the characters and what their ultimate fate would be.
Of far more importance however then the drama itself is the obtuse message delivered by the producers. We are on the verge of losing what remains of our personal liberty. The England painted by the film makers is not some maybe, kind of, far off 'Mad Max' could-be dystopian future. It is more of a 'Max Headroom' world that is looming up all around us. The world of The Last Enemy is just around the corner. In fact, we are at least half way around that corner. Much of the technology used in the film appears to be here already (and micro-biologists ARE dying at an unusually high rate).
Many well-intended people in government --such as portrayed in 'The Last Enemy"-- think strong controls on the populace is a logical means of preventing terrorism and related crimes. History does not bear that philosophy out however. You can't gain freedom by removing freedom. Given the current state of the evolution of human consciousness, powers given to the Government are at first used with [hopefully] good intent. Then they are mis-used. Then they are ab-used. Every single time. Treatments such as 'The Last Enemy' help point out the futility of 1984 style controls placed on a society. Our best way out of the dilemma the world faces is instead through individual citizens raising their own consciousness. We MUST evolve or freedom [which world history shows to be a temporary state] will die.
btw - A title I can think of that might interest those who liked this film is the British political mini-series 'The Amazing Mrs Pritchard'. And those wanting to learn more regarding the themes presented in 'The Last Enemy' have an abundance of choices in video. Two that come to mind are the black dystopian comedy from Terry Gilliam 'Brazil', and the documentary 'Ayn Rand & the Philosophy of Atlas Shrugged'.
My wife's infatuation with Benedict Cumberbatch continues unabated, so I was invited to watch five hours of this nonsense with her and, well, it was that or divorce, what would you do? While it was going on she admitted that even Cumberbatch, the single greatest man who ever lived in all of history she thinks, was finding it heavy going breathing life into this story which we had both seen, like, one million times. Anyone who has watched Tom Cruise in a futuristic movie has seen it, and seen it done much better. I hereby give Tom Cruise a Bell Curve Oscar for his sterling work in Oblivion, Vanilla Sky, War of the Worlds, etc. Lifetime Achievement Award, and it will be presented live on TV to him by Rosie O'Donnell and a deflated Benedict Cumberbatch.
The story is ridiculously expanded to pad out two hours to five. My questions include, Who are those evil foreign brothers from Russia or wherever? Who is Robert Carlyle playing and how does he know so much, and yet so little, about every twist and turn of the plot? Is every government employee in England satanically evil? If you were a woman passionately devoted to your husband, and he died, and his brother showed up the day of his funeral, a brother you had never met and moreover looks nothing like your husband--we were 100 per cent sure it would turn out that he actually was the husband, with a facelift and his memory shifted as in Total Recall or Source Code--would you skip the funeral and have sex with this stranger instead? While a plague stricken woman lies dying in the next room, a woman you are sworn to help? (This is no spoiler as it occurs within the first 25 minutes of the miniseries.) My wife murmured, "Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't help himself, but that woman Kasim is a slut." Later she apologizes by explaining that, "He was there.... And I wanted him," a sentiment my wife sympathized with. OK, more questions, Carrie's boss in Homeland, David Estes, shows up in this effort playing the exact same part, only here he's British. Does he play no other sort of role? It is the sort of part Rod Steiger and then John Malkovich used to excel in, cold as ice and pure and icy ambition.
Then there's the Robert Carlyle question. It seems like only yesterday he used to be a great star, in The Full Monty and Trainspotting and others. Surprised to see him still alive, and unable to follow a single word of his dialogue due to my accent recognition software malfunctioning, I spent a lot of time looking him up simultaneously on IMDB and finding out that in fact he's been busy acting in thirty-two movies I have never heard of, sometimes playing characters such as "Third Man in Tavern" or "Chauffeur." I guess he saw he had a lead part in a miniseries and jumped in with both feet, but the cruel producers here made him leave off his lifts, so he tries his best to menace and murder and hold hostage, but it's cute because he's no more than five feet three I would estimate. It's like watching little Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense as a supervillain, in punky clothes borrowed from, oh I don't know, Punky Brewster.
Final question, have you ever seen a tacked-on ending before? Of course you have, but this one will leave you with your head in your hands, mumbling and pouting, one thought ratcheting through your brain, that soon, very soon, your wife is going to be forcing you to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the forthcoming biopic of Julian Assange (!!!) and she'll be whispering in your ear, "Oh be a sport, at least it will be better than The Last Enemy."
on September 28, 2014
I am not sure we are too far from the world portrayed in this movie. Once again Benedict Cumberbatch plays an introverted British man, who surrounds himself with numbers and abstract problems, rather than people. He has just returned to England after working in China for several years, and is swept up into a world he does not recognize. His journey includes a romance with his dead brother's wife, and indirectly involvement with a group of activists. It will keep your interest, unless you dislike good acting and suspense.