Sonia Kennebecks Enemies of the state is about the DeHart family, who at first glance seem like a typical “American family next door”. But since 2010, son Matt has been the focus of several serious allegations, investigations, and scandals related to government espionage, hacking, and political asylum seekers and charged with several heinous crimes.
We start with a journey back in time as the respondents, mostly Pastor Paul and Leann DeHart (both ex-military) parents, track their son’s journey and passion for technology, computers and the internet from an early age. This obsession, coupled with an interest in all things âsecret and spyâ, led him to join the National Guard, which gave him special permits and access to sensitive information. Meanwhile, the young man doubled his hacktivism at home, hung out on obscure tech / geek forums, and ended up helping organizations like Anonymous. Of course, Uncle Sam became suspicious and not long after that the DeHarts house was raided. Twist: The police were not on the scene because of cybersecurity issues, but were looking for evidence of the young man’s foster and predatory behavior towards minors.
From there, Enemies of the state turns to Mr. Robot Territory while their family life turns into a stressful and overwhelming spy movie in which parents go to great lengths to keep their son safe. They believe he was wrongly charged by the US government and accused of hunting down military personnel who provide information to Wikileaks. For her, her lawyers, and some experts, the raid was undoubtedly to seek evidence of national security violations as we learn that DeHart was in possession of confidential documents allegedly exposing US wrongdoing and crimes on American soil. An example would be the conspiracy theory that the 2001 anthrax tragedy was a CIA operation covered up by the FBI to create “foreigner panic” and bolster support for the war in Iraq.
“…Matt was with the center of several serious allegations, Investigations and scandals … “
Since desperate times call for desperate action, the extremely caring couple, not knowing who to turn to or who to trust, decide to work tirelessly to keep their son out of jail and help him avoid prosecution. That meant that they would drive to the Russian embassy in the middle of the night or flee to Canada to seek asylum there. As things get lazy and muddy, Kennebeck investigates further, pointing out that Matt DeHart is viewed as a whistleblower in certain circles, following in the footsteps of Manning, Assange and Snowden. DeHart eventually spends years in prison claiming drugged, intensely interrogated / tortured and imprisoned in inhumane conditions. Then new evidence comes to light.
This bomb-laden and dense saga seemed more for one Tiger King Series, but Kennebeck had no access to similar material. So Enemies of the state relies on dramatic reenactments based on transcripts or uses audio from various procedures such as the DeHart immigration hearings in Canada. This mixture is not uncommon for such a project, but here it only works temporarily. While it clarifies how certain things happened, the reenactments mainly add to the greater uncertainty in the already confusing plot. This disorientation is reinforced by the fact that some of the dialogues are almost inaudible on tape. Unfortunately, the reconstruction was more of an RPG or table reading than a cinematic drama.
However, it cannot be denied that the director provides all sorts of clues while still leaving it to the viewers to decide whether it is a film, as one of the many attorneys featured mentions about âPeople are paranoid or is the system really out there? to get them. “Is Enemies of the state about people paying the price for being brave or conspiratorial in addition to being / protecting evil criminals who abuse children? Or maybe, as the DeHart Matriarch puts it, “the truth doesn’t matter.” Unless you are the real victim.