15 Hollywood Blockbusters That Feature Security Surveillance
Security surveillance has long been a cornerstone of media, being central to the plot of many films and books. Whether it’s used to catch long-standing criminals, as a tool of personal justice, or more, you won’t see many movies nowadays that don’t feature security surveillance in some form.
In this article, we’re taking a look at 15 of the highest-grossing Hollywood blockbusters to prominently feature security surveillance.
Box Office: $1.516 billion
While most of the action is focused on behind-the-wheel stunts, the Furious team are tasked with recovering a powerful surveillance system dubbed ‘God’s Eye’. The system can track down anyone in the world remotely, using a range of digital devices and is sought after by a host of parties, primarily the US government, who enlist the Furious gang to find it.
The Dark Knight
Box Office: $1.005 billion
Bruce Wayne uses his vast wealth to build an all-encompassing surveillance system in order to track down his arch rival the Joker. As Batman, Bruce seeks justice, but by invading the privacy of Gotham’s citizens he unsettles long-time friend Lucius Fox, and the morals of the system are called into question.
Box Office: $880.7 million
The impending global surveillance system ‘Nine Eyes’ is close to implementation, and 007 is called upon to shut it down, despite internal struggles at MI6. As with many Bond movies, Spectre has surveillance deeply embedded in its plot, but ‘Nine Eyes’ tackles the issues of global security and what it means when taken advantage of by criminal factions.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Box Office: $714 million
Captain America: The Winter Soldier dives headfirst into discussions of global surveillance with a refreshing seriousness not often found in many Marvel action flicks. The film deals with the implications of a surveillance state, where security surveillance is taken far beyond its appropriate means, and acts as a warning to the potential power of unchecked surveillance on a wider scale.
The Simpsons Movie
Box Office: $527.9 million
The Simpson family find themselves on the run from Springfield as outlaws, but they are tracked down via the NSA’s extensive surveillance mechanisms. The movie was released in 2007, and, typical of The Simpsons, was ahead of its time in its commentary on present-day surveillance issues and events.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Box Office: $442.8 million
The Bourne series is steeped in surveillance, and lead spy Jason Bourne finds himself at the wrong end of it when he meets a journalist who has crossed the CIA. The film uses CCTV in a tense cat and mouse sequence where operatives are trying to locate and capture the journalist, who is aided by the experienced Bourne.
Box Office: $358.4 million
Based on a Philip K Dick short story, Minority Report is set in a world where surveillance is king. It is used to monitor and even advertise to the general populace. This makes the life of on-the-run protagonist John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, ever harder as he tries to unravel a deep-seated mystery.
The Bourne Supremacy
Box Office: $288.5 million
In the second installment of the Bourne series, Jason Bourne attempts to decipher his own past against the backdrop of heavy CIA surveillance systems. Surveillance itself plays less of a role in Supremacy than in Ultimatum, but it remains an ever-present part of the Bourne world.
The Truman Show
Box Office: $264 million
The Truman Show has different skew on surveillance; instead of focusing on political issues, the movie takes a personal look at surveillance used as a form of entertainment. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank whose life, unbeknownst to him, has been constructed and filmed for the purposes of creating a hugely popular television show.
Enemy of the State
Box Office: $250.6 million
Will Smith finds himself at the heart of political conspiracy centred around proposed surveillance laws for law enforcement. With evidence of the assassination of a US congressman, he is tracked down by the government who utilise a range of advanced surveillance techniques as he tries to earn his freedom.
The Bourne Identity
Box Office: $214 million
The film that kicked off the franchise that gave Bond a run for his money, the Bourne Identity gained its gritty realism from the world in which it is set. Surveillance plays a large role in that world. Jason Bourne, a spy suffering from amnesia, is under constant surveillance as he trots the globe in an attempt to find out more about his past.
Box Office: $196 million
2002’s Panic Room looks at the domestic use of surveillance during the break-in of a New York City home. The titular panic room, where the film’s mother and daughter protagonists (Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart), are secured, houses a bank of CCTV monitors. This allows them to track the criminals that are trying to find a way into the panic room itself.
Box Office: $178.1 million
2013’s Eagle Eye takes surveillance away from the humans, putting it in the hands of a supercomputer dubbed ARIIA (Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analyst). One particular scene shows ARIIA deciphering a conversation by monitoring the vibrations of some coffee in a nearby cup – a technique with an actual real-world basis, as researchers at MIT have examined.
Box Office: $159.1 million
Demolition Man flings us far into the future (well, not as far as it might have seemed in 1993!) as we travel to 2032 metropolis ‘San Angeles’. The city is a seeming utopia, where crime has been stamped out due to the complete surveillance of its citizens.
V For Vendetta
Box Office: $132 million
This political thriller doesn’t shy away from mass surveillance, as dystopian England is depicted as under total surveillance from its totalitarian rulers. This abuse of surveillance and the extreme methods unleashed by the ruling government leads to main character V (Hugo Weaving) attempting to ignite a revolution.