A documentary focused on Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target.
A feature documentary that explores the rise of a new Internet; decentralized, encrypted, dangerous and beyond the law; with particular focus on the FBI capture of the Tor hidden service Silk Road, and the judicial aftermath.
Joshua L. Dratel
Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.
Best when viewed as a character study of the major players
This is a fairly straightforward documentary with some fancy graphic interludes between segments, but some character development that was somewhat surprising. It proceeds primarily chronologically, from an early hacking of NASA & government sites to the establishment of Wikileaks as a self-made depository of accountability and "open source" government. It progresses through the early publishing of government data through the Bradley Manning data provided at the behest of background hacker and the final outing of the State Department cables. I thought the film did a reasonably good job of depicting Assange and his motives, from his early teenage hacking of government sites purely for fun to his firm belief in the right of the public to know what its government is doing behind its back. I had followed some of the developments around 2010-11, but learned a lot more about the background of the other players besides the charismatic and rather self-serving Assange. In particular, a fair amount of time is spent on Manning, including interviews with friends, a superior in his unit, and video and photo clips of him prior to the story breaking. I had known nothing about Adrian Lamo, a mysterious hacker in the background whom Manning confided in anonymously and eventually trusted enough to follow through with recommendations for disclosing the material, only to have Lamo rat him out. Although the popular press had always depicted Manning as simply "apparently gay" the film delves much deeper into his sexual identify conflicts (prior to and during his deployment and throughout the leaking process he struggled with whether to pursue transgender surgery) and marked self-esteem and isolation issues. Assange initially comes across as a quasi-anarchist on a mission to make government accountable, but narcissistic and borderline personality traits become quite apparent as his fame and infamy grow. The "rape" charges are explored, including an interview with one of the two women. What we've heard in the press about one of them being a CIA agent affiliated with Miami/Cuba is blown apart, and (IFF the woman is to be believed) the charge that he had sex and broke a condom but kept going are depicted as true. The woman sounds like she just wants him to admit it. However, the take home message from this film is that everyone may-- or may not-- be lying part or all of the time: Assange, Manning, Lamo, the two purported "rape" victims, and above all governments. Lamo is described in the film as having Asperger's syndrome, but his stilted speech suggests he falls more to the autistic side of the pervasive developmental spectrum. The film succeeds as a character study of the major players even if it does not move in interesting directions or reveal much more than is already known. The saddest aspect is the fate of Manning, whose naiveté is likely to result in a lifetime of torture in a Supermax while the real criminals in the Bush administration remain free.
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