Film review: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (15)
Alex Gibney, 130mins
Alex Gibney’s film is a documentary of two halves.
The first half beats the drum for WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, the man behind the biggest security breach in US intelligence history. What surprises here is Gibney’s apparently unquestioning attitude to his subject, given the lances he has broken against the smart guys of Enron and the US military in Taxi to the Dark Side.
Inside the first five minutes Assange is described as “brilliant”, “clever” and “brave”. But the tone changes once two sex-abuse charges in Sweden come to light and Assange’s own mask begins to slip, revealing a thin-skinned, paranoid and pretty grasping character.
But this is no ad hominem assault; the real story of the film belongs to Bradley Manning, a conscience-stricken Army private who in 2010 leaked video footage of a US gunship in Baghdad killing two children, two Reuters journalists and several others who happened to be standing by (the shooter’s radioed commentary to base is sickening). Manning, for all his naivety, really did prove himself a crusader for freedom, and paid the price – three years in the brig without trial, and tortured to boot.
It makes Assange’s furtiveness and his hideout in the Ecuadorean embassy look even more weaselly. Gibney has stitched together the ordinary material of interviews, emails and news footage into a quite incendiary narrative. His film has made a good case for the WikiLeaks ethic, if not for its tainted figurehead.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Panic! At The Disco donate $1000 to gay rights group after Westboro Baptist Church picket
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains