Saturday, 2 August 2014

Film Review - ALGORITHM

So I watched ALGORITHM, aka The Hacker Movie, last evening, having purchased it a few days ago.

I'd heard about this from Steve Gibson on the SecurityNow podcast last year, and had contributed to the crowd-funding campaign, run on Indiegogo last year.

"...
When I look around, I don't see borders, wall, locks - I see puzzles.

In the late 1950s, MIT hackers believed, as I do, that information should be free.

They call that terrorism nowadays

What happens when I know everything ?
..."

The film was written and directed by Jonathan Schiefer and was filmed on location in San Francisco.

So, the film opens at a slow but steady pace, with the main protagonist, Will, talking us through his life as a computer hacker. It seems that hacking is his way of life, and that that's the way he earns his daily crust.

It's clear that he is fairly amoral, in the way that he treats what other people claim to own. He feels that copyright is a fallacy, and that information should be free.

He has a small social circle of friends, many of whom are unfeasibly good looking - there's no sign of the stereotypical spotty fat nerd here. Interestingly, most of his circle are also Apple fanbois, which ( as an  user myself, just shows their extremely good taste ).

Through a relatively minor bit of malfeasance, he gets drawn into something big, something potentially nasty, something that will have repercussions for him and his network....

The film has a relatively small cast, set in a beautiful location, and a running time of 91 minutes.

It's clear that Jonathan has done his research, partly from the aforementioned Steve Gibson via SecurityNow, and you could use Algorithm as a way of re-educating yourself on how NOT to get hacked - update your software, don't use simple passwords, keep your life off-line etc.

To what would I compare this ?

Well, it's not War Games or Hackers, which is probably a good thing. It has some parallels with Sneakers, Enemy of the State, and The Net, mainly in terms of highlighting the uneasiness that most of us feel about the need for improved national security, when compared to our own sense of public freedom.

In this post-Snowden world, we think we know what's going on. I bet we don't. I bet that there's things happening that'd make our hair curl, if we bothered to think / look / ask.

It's a film to make one think, it's NOT a hacker's manual; I bet that there are millions of those out on the so-called "dark" net, but it may provide some insight into the way that hackers work, rest and play.

Would I recommend it ?

Absolutely.

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