When Julian Assange exploded into the public consciousness as the face behind WikiLeaks in the wake of the site’s publication of previously secret war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly everybody formed an immediate opinion of the white-haired Aussie. Some saw him as an anarchist savior ready to pull the wool from the eyes of the world. Others saw him as a terrorist who revealed secrets that could endanger troops on the ground. With We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
, lauded documentarian Alex Gibney traces Assange’s rise from teen hacker to international celebrity with verve and compelling storytelling. We Sell Secrets
manages the difficult task of humanizing the rise and fall of Assange and those in his orbit through heartbreaking interviews and shocking battlefield footage. (Assange was not interviewed, since the small-budget doc couldn’t afford $1 million for a conversation.) In its most compelling moments, the film trains its lens on Bradley Manning, the young, isolated Army intelligence analyst who, despite WikiLeaks’ professed policy of never disclosing whistle-blowers’ identities, was arrested and held in solitary confinement after he supplied Assange with hundreds of thousands of files. Meanwhile, the film takes great pains to paint Assange not as a martyr, villain, saint or terrorist, but as a man struggling with fame and commitment to his cause. Assange became the symbol everyone wanted him to be—for good or ill—but We Steal Secrets
portrays him in a way few have imagined: as human.
Living Room Theaters