Critic Reviews



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The vastly divergent paths of Assange and Manning make up the most fascinating aspects of this relentlessly compelling film.
Despite a lack of access to Manning and Assange, We Steal Secrets is a vital document of a pivotal moment in world history that we're still experiencing as we speak.
It's complicated. And it's fascinating.
Even the movie's title, or rather the source of it, is a surprise. Not to spoil the fun, but it's neither Assange nor one of his allies who nonchalantly acknowledges that "we steal secrets."
Unfolding like an espionage thriller but with a methodical journalistic skill at organizing a mountain of facts, the film raises stimulating questions about transparency and freedom of information in a world in which governments and corporations have plenty to hide.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is at once an awkward mingling of two complex life stories and a gripping, necessary look at how information is gathered, shared and, yes, stolen.
Alex Gibney adds to his forensic examinations of Enron and Abu Ghraib with another fine documentary. Undeterred by grey areas or the hostility of his subject, the filmmaker tackles one of the stories of our times with dynamism and smarts.
Events are still unfolding, so this is a snapshot in time, but Gibney's conscientious, revealing document proves a mine of valuable information and affecting emotional insights.
There are no shattering revelations here - if Gibney's canny gathering of various narratives, shimmering score and cool graphics give his film the goose-pimply intrigue of a spy thriller, it just happens to be one you've already seen. It's also one in which the subplot, if anything, takes over from the main plot.
Despite Gibney's best efforts to put a halo on Manning, the enormity of what the soldier did towers over what has been done to him.
Gibney is as dramatic a storyteller as the Hollywood directors with whom he competes for our attention, and he employs a big bag of tricks.
The latest documentary to roll out of the Alex Gibney factory looks at the life and times of the crusading website and explores related themes such as freedom of information and the moral responsibility of activism, but is far less illuminating about its silver-haired standard-bearer.
You'll leave knowing slightly more about the who, what and why of WikiLeaks; you'll also wish the whole shebang didn't fell like such a tone-deaf data dump overall.

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