WHO AM I: NO SYSTEM IS SAFE [Edinburgh Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

When computer hacker Benjamin is brought in for questioning by Europol’s cybercrime division, he claims he has information on a dangerous hacker collective they are chasing. During his interrogation, he weaves an elaborate history of his experiences in the fast-paced and intense life of an online criminal.

In a setup reminiscent of The Usual Suspects or Norwegian thriller Jackpot, Benjamin acts as an unreliable narrator, sitting in police custody after a massacre and relating the events leading up to it, his tale growing ever more fanciful in the retelling. As he begins, he is revealed to have something of a superhero complex (and with an absent father and a dead mother, he practically has an origin story) but his frustration with how society has placed him doesn’t allow him to realise this, so instead he turns to cybercrime as a release. The small hacker collective CLAY he forms gives him a sense of purpose, while the online community of international cybercriminals allows him to feel a part of something.

One of the problems with making movies about hackers is that people hunched over laptops typing away at keyboards are not especially interesting to watch. To remedy this, the action takes several paths to keep the viewer engaged. As the online stunts CLAY performs often feature as much physical infiltration as they do actual coding, their events are more akin to the action of heist flicks. From their beginnings with infiltrating a meeting of white supremacists in order to plant a humiliating video to breaking into the offices of Germany’s national security agency, there is always a degree of real-life deception to their undertakings.

Like that seen in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, during the hacking sequences we get realistic representations of what the craft actually looks like, showing screens of code instead of the daft interactive 3D visuals so beloved of Hollywood’s glamorous misconception of what hacking entails. There is also an acknowledgment of the vastly different types of expertise programmers possess and how different areas of knowledge and proficiency are applicable in different situations, along with another offline element from the utilisation of the fact that the biggest threat to computer security is the people operating them failing to take proper precautions.

The film attempts to liken the technological deception to magic tricks, which in itself is certainly an admirable aspiration, but magic tricks in films rarely work as effectively as they do on stage due to the ease of deceit through editing choices. There’s nothing particularly clever about simply withholding information from your audience. Despite a rather smug payoff, Who Am I is still an engaging techno-thriller that also rather unnervingly reminds us that in the information age there can be no such thing as absolute security.

WHO AM I: NO SYSTEM IS SAFE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: BARAN BO ODAR / SCREENPLAY: JANTJE FRIESE, BARAN BO ODAR / STARRING: TOM SCHILLING, ELYAS M'BAREK, WOTAN WILKE MÖHRING, ANTOINE MONOT JR, TRINE DYRHOLM, HANNAH HERZSPRUNG / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 7 out of 10
Actual Rating:

 


Suggested Articles:
Volumes of Blood impressed a lot of genre-loving folks in 2015 with a low-budget underdog approach t
Dawn Of The Deaf is an engaging, horrifying, mystifying and, due to its brief length, tantalising ta
Ordinarily, explaining the concept of a short would be bad form to even consider, but Rites of Venge
With For a Good Time, Call… horror short heroine Izzy Lee (whose gender-flipped Lovecraft tale Inn
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES 16 August 2017

DAWN OF THE DEAF [SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

RITES OF VENGEANCE [SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…[SHORT FILM] 16 August 2017

A GHOST STORY 15 August 2017

THE DOMICILE 14 August 2017

ALIEN: REIGN OF MAN 07 August 2017

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS 06 August 2017

THE EMOJI MOVIE 06 August 2017

ANNABELLE: CREATION 04 August 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner