Film review: We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (15)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Picture: Getty

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Picture: Getty

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ALEX Gibney’s propulsive, compulsive new documentary is a tale of two men. One is Julian Assange, the silver-haired hacktivist face of Wikileaks, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (15)

Star ratingL * * * *

The other is Bradley Manning, a low-level army intelligence analyst, who has been in a more austere military prison since 2012.

In tracing the rise of Wikileaks, Gibney has no shortage of material. His documentary begins with military footage of Reuters journalists, Iraqi civilians, and two children being killed by US gunships, material uploaded to Wikileaks by Manning. He also has plenty of interviewees willing to detail their relationship with Assange, which always begin in admiration and end in some disillusionment, although Gibney fails to coax British parliamentary expenses investigator Hea-ther Brooke to repeat a story of Assange asking her “to be my Mary Magdalene”.

It matters not; there are plenty to testify to Assange’s burning desire to expose other people, while trying to keep his own life and misdemeanours as private as possible. There’s more sympathy for Manning, an unhappy individual with gender-identity issues who fatally trusted hacker Adrian Lamo and uploaded huge files of classified information to his care. Lamo expresses regret, and seems no more anchored than any of the other Wikifaces. Noxious government activities may warrant exposure, but Gibney points out that the whistleblowers can be pretty flawed too.

• Filmhouse, Edinburgh, and Dundee Contemporary Arts, 


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