We Steal Secrets doesn't carry the same punch or investigative depth that make Gibeny's docs so compelling. It's an interesting look at a flawed man, albeit too unidimensional for those who studied Assange and his work. Still, it offers plenty of thought-provoking material that make the film a relevant entry in Gibney's filmography.
An equally engaging and enraging rundown on the current state of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, whistle blowers, Bradley Manning, PR spin, international law, piracy and the fight for freedom of information. A must-watch in this current state of greasy politics, sleight of hand and multinational greed. 4 stars
Like 'Making a Murderer', it still feels impossible to conclude whether Assange is a falsely accused scapegoat or a criminal mastermind. This uncertainty is remarkably explored in a compelling and even-handed documentary.
(Spoiler) The tone is balanced. And there seems to be an effort to present Julian Assange as a complex person, with virtues and flaws. This 2012 doc already seems outdated. It presents almost a defunct Wikileaks and makes no mention of the 2013 Edward Snowden leak*. Which is great. Only 3 years allowed to create a sense of past. And we have a document to look into and see how once people felt about one organization.
More about Bradly Manning and an attempt to decipher moral, psychological, social and political implications of being a whistle blower than it is about Assange. It is at those moments that film is at it's best. Story about Wikileaks is more information driven, focusing on objectivity and giving a solid brief for further exploration of the subject.
Undeniably entertaining to watch, and it seems that Gibney at least makes an attempt to be even handed in his portrayal of WikiLeaks and Assange. However, there is a constant feeling that the real story is happening out of frame, and there is a chilling reminder that Bradley Manning has only recently been sent to trial after 3+ years of detention.
Strong documentary that does a good job of laying out the events, and the various fall-outs. Also giving a fairly honest and evenhanded 'portrait' of both men, their backgrounds, and their respective characters. Not going to take your breath away, and certainly not going to please Assange devotees, but well paced and a good summation of the world we live in. Would make a great double feature with The Social Network.