Aug 2, 2013

We Steal Secrets - Documentary

I think this is still topical given the recent Denial of Service attack on the WikiLeaks Party website. A shorter version of this review was submitted elsewhere, but wasn't chosen so I thought I would share it with you guys. In the interests of disclosure, I received free tickets to see this movie at Luna Palace Cinemas. 



Dir: Alex Gibney
Run time: 130 mins

If you want a documentary that tells you what to think then don't go and see this one. If you enjoy sifting through information, weighing up arguments and bringing your research to the platform then step aboard because you're in for an interesting ride.

From pride to despair and from cynicism to conviction, film maker Alex Gibney certainly likes to evoke an emotional response. I have read reviews where he's criticised for bias towards the US Government showing Assange as a villain and others saying he portrayed Assange and Manning as free-speech heroes. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. 

These people are wonderfully flawed and passionately driven human beings.
That people responded so strongly towards either side means the three year old controversy isn't dead. 

Assange is shut in at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London awaiting questioning on separate matters. The Manning trial commenced last month to finally answer the charges laid three years ago. The matter is very much alive. 


But Gibney isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Known for his documentary Silence in the House of God looking into abuse in the Catholic Church, he brings something to the discussion that you will need to mull over.
This film brings together, old footage and new computer graphics to tell the story of Wiki Leaks. 

It concentrates mostly on the incident concerning Bradley Manning allegedly providing military information to Julian Assange as the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks. However, a large part of the telling involves eye witness accounts. Eye witnesses are all about perspective, so you'll need to decide for yourself who to believe.



It also got me wondering whether anyone will ever come up with an adequate graphic to explain how the Internet works? 

Further, you may start questioning, as I did, whether Adrian Lamo was right or wrong in releasing conversations he had with Manning; or whether all information we put on the Internet becomes public property and is subject to the same scrutiny that Manning was trying to bring to the war documents and footage. It's a question for our times.



If you're interested, the Wiki Leaks people have an annotated script which is an interesting perspective as well. It can be found here.


This is the second WikiLeaks film I've seen in the last couple of months and I don't think it will be the last. Bring your critical thinking hats and a large popcorn. 

Related posts:

Underground: The Julian Assange Story




1 comment:

  1. Very, VERY cool! Frankly, I'm not sure yet who to believe in this situation, but maybe that's a good sign that I haven't reached premature closure - that would be poor skepticism, and bad form as well.

    Thanks for posting this.

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