The Net (1995) Poster


Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The short answer is that it was never their original plan. Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam) traveled to Mexico to see if Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) had taken the "Mozart's Ghost" disc with her. The movie suggests that he had real feelings for her, which explains why he took her to dinner instead of simply killing her right away. When she escapes his boat, they assume Angela died and proceeded to switch her identity with Ruth Marx. This would allow the real Ruth Marx access into Cathedral Software and would create a cover story if anyone found the body in Mexico, because records would show it as "Ruth Marx". This would explain why they didn't technically "delete" her records and instead switched them. After this, Jack checked her out of the Mexican Resort and searched her belongings in the room for additional copies of the disk. Also, using Angela's name, they sold her house and moved everything out to remove any traces of the old Angela. When the Praetorians discover she is back in California, Jack hastily adds a criminal record along with outstanding warrants onto Ruth Marx's profile, so the police officers would take her into custody, where Jack could have her killed.

  • When Angela receives her temporary visa at the American Embassy, it has all of her correct information on it, except her name which has been changed to Ruth Marx. Looking closely you can see the address listed (407 Finley Street, Venice, CA) was the same one that Angela used to order pizza at the beginning of the movie. Many viewers have wondered why this couldn't count as proof that she lived at her address. There are two possible reasons why this didn't help her: First, she never showed her temporary visa to the police until some time after they arrived. The second it was handed over to the cops, they ran the information through the police database. The issue of her living at the address was put on hold after it was discovered she had warrants in her name. The second thing to remember is that listing an address as your residence does not mean you own the deed to the property, something the real estate agent said the "real Angela" was in possession of. Because of Angela's questionable state, the authorities may have assumed she only lived there as a roommate or stayed there on occasion.

  • The man was Secretary of Defense Michael Bergstrom. Jeff Gregg was wanting to outfit the entire federal government with his Gatekeeper Security Software, but for reasons unexplained, Bergstrom did not want to. So the Praetorians altered a blood test that he had to show he was HIV-positive. This was particularly damning since he had been vocal against gays in the military. When he got the results and they were confirmed to be error-free, he killed himself. His replacement, Shoemaker, was quoted in a news broadcast as saying he would have the entire Pentagon under the control of Gatekeeper. An autopsy later revealed he did not have HIV and his results had been tampered with. His character was partially based upon the suicide of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster who killed himself in 1993 with a gunshot wound in the head in a park outside Washington DC

  • The real Ben Phillips was a FBI agent that Alan Champion (Dennis Miller) mentioned as a close friend and confidant that Angela could turn to. Alan probably tried to contact him and after Jack switched his prescription and killed him, the Praetorians checked his phone records and discovered him and used his name to get Angela out of the jail. An impostor hired by Jack used his name and credentials to get Angela out of the Los Angeles Correctional Facility. Jack needed to know if she really had any other copies of the disk. Angela had previously denied it at the carnival but probably wanted to know for sure. She discovered he was a fake when he mentioned the destroyed green floppy disk in Mexico, something she had only told Jack. He wasn't a real FBI agent, as the news report later on in the film says he was unidentified and had "gangland-style gunshot wound to the head". He was probably killed by Jack to keep him quiet.

  • He was a fellow hacker that Angela talked to regularly online. At the beginning of the movie, Angela is seen talking in a chatroom with "Cyberbob", "Iceman" and "Gandalf361" about her upcoming vacation. Later in the hotel room, she looks up the identities of her companions for help. She discovers his real name is Robert Fox and he lives nearby in West Hollywood. He is the only one that can help her, since Iceman was 12 years old and Gandalf361 lived in India. Angela asks him to tells her about the Praetorians. He says they are dangerous and should not be messed with, but agrees to meet her at the Santa Monica Pier to give her more information. However their communication is intercepted and Jack Devlin is later seen at Robert Fox's apartment building paging his room. He tells Angela later "Sorry, Bob couldn't make it."

  • Angela hitchhikes to San Francisco and is able to sneak inside Cathedral Software. She locates the "fake Angela" and turns on the fire alarm to drive her and everyone else out of the building. She copies all the information about the scam, when she receives an instant message from the leader behind the entire operation (Username: Praetorian). Using a backtracer, she discovers he is really Jeff Gregg of Gregg Microsystems. She sneaks out of the building and heads to the Computer Convention to email everything to the FBI. She succeeds, but is stopped before leaving by Jack Devlin and the real Ruth Marx. He attempts to use the Gatekeeper program to manually remove the email, but unknown to Jack, Angela switched computer disks and inserted one that had a malicious virus on it, activated by pushing the ESC key. This crashed the entire mainframe and essentially reverted her life back to the way it was. Angela is pursued in the back alley but is able to outwit both of them, with Ruth getting accidentally shot and Jack falling to his death. Angela is shown moved back into her home with her mother now living with her. The movie ends with a bookended shot of the Venica, CA skyline.


The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • To the public, they were a group of hackers and cyberterrorists that hacked into various organizations and caused chaos. This included everything from the New York Stock Exchange to Los Angeles International Airport to the Department of Water and Power in Atlanta. Towards the end of the movie however, Angela discovered that the Praetorians were really under the control of Jeff Gregg and were not "rogue" as the media perceives. In reality, they were just a rouse that tricked corporations into believing they needed better security software, which would lead them to purchase the "Gatekeeper Security Program", which would give a backdoor to the creators of the software (à la Trojan Horse). The movie strongly implies the Praetorians aren't as powerful or numerous as the public are led to believe. Their name is taken from the Caesar's bodyguards in Ancient Rome. The Praetorian Guard was formed by the emperor Augustus to prevent assassins from reaching and murdering him.

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