Movie Review - We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Alex Gibney's documentary is about the rise and fall of Julian Assange, the creator of the whistle-blower web site, known as WikiLeaks, and maybe it's my own personal taste, but nothing about Assange was all that compelling. In fact, I was rather bored with Assange's story. It might be because this story is more recent and on-going and has been so well reported and debated that Gibney's movie feels almost unnecessary. The movie's only saving grace is the section centering on Chelsea Manning, an army soldier and military and State Department whistle-blower, formerly known as Bradley Manning who seemed gay but was revealed to be transgendered.

For those who haven't been following it, Gibney lays out the series of events in nice, chronological fashion. It also spotlights the problems that WikiLeaks exposed in government that are worth knowing. There are the issues with the NSA, its overreach and possible infringement of privacy. One of the more damning is the video of an airstrike that killed innocent men and children, while the soldiers at the controls joked and laughed about it.

Even though Manning's story and his theft of classified documents reveal problems within the military. It just got tiring hearing about Assange. A lot about Assange could have gone, including his seeking asylum in the Ecuador embassy over a rape case in Sweden. With it, the movie is just too long and focuses on the person rather than the real problems.

Yes, the issue of whether or not Assange has "blood on his hands" due to his releasing of the Afghan war logs is important, but ultimately it was Manning who turned them over, so it should be Manning's story from beginning to end.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated R for some disturbing violent images, language and sexual material.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 9 mins.


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