In a brilliant series of investigative docs including ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ and ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’, Alex Gibney has shown his knack for unpicking complex issues while keeping sight of the human element behind big stories. This thorough, engrossing film shows how idealistic Aussie hacker Julian Assange took on the might of the US, exposing their military and diplomatic misconduct, then allowed his own murky personal life to tarnish his credibility.
Broadly supportive of the transparency agenda, Gibney uses testimony from Assange’s friends and foes alike (Assange himself refused to be interviewed). He portrays a worthy cause undone by its leader’s flawed psyche – Assange’s implosion is tellingly contrasted with the punitive treatment visited by the US military on his key source, troubled intelligence analyst Bradley Manning. Events are still unfolding, so this is a snapshot in time, but Gibney’s conscientious, revealing document proves a mine of valuable information and affecting emotional insights.