It’s hard to come up with a good hacker movie. Why? On the one hand, it is very difficult to make an interesting film about a man sitting at a computer. Second, for a similar reason: all the drama and digital world of hacking is invisible to the naked eye. This presents a particular challenge for a visual storytelling medium like cinema. Some hacker movies have come out well. Others have become worse. And yet others should never have made it. We won’t name them (after this run).
The Good: Tron (1982)
Tron Is the original hacker movie. It revolves around a software engineer (Jeff Bridges) who is “digitized” and incorporated into a computer program. I saw it for the first time recently and was impressed by the visuals, as well as the funny emotions of the film. On a 4K screen, the remastered images are really worth watching. The movie basically puts you in a retro arcade game, which is still pretty cool after four decades.
The Good: War Games (1983)
Made in the early eighties, War games Helped inspire a whole new generation of hackers – and you can see why. A young Matthew Broderick plays David Lightman, a talented high school idiot who manages to hack into NORAD and accidentally starts almost WWIII. Lightman’s exploits inspired similarly talented young people to become keyboard warriors in the years to come.
The Good: Sneakers (1992)
Sneakers It’s a cool movie. It has an amazing cast (Robert Redford, Sidney Potier, Ben Kinsley, Dan Ackroyd, David Stratheron and River Phoenix) and this is above average for a hacker movie: a team of penetration testers is caught up in a bizarre conspiracy. A tool that can unlock all federal government encryption protection. Recommended to watch!
The Good: The Net (1995):
Net There’s a serious ridiculous movie that still strangely predicts some of the most horrible hacker Shennigans that are plaguing our world right now. Created in 1995, Sandra Bullock plays a Silicon Valley-based systems analyst who is embroiled in a major cyber-spying scandal. She runs for her life and creates a digital thrill.
The Good: Hackers (1995)
Hack the world! Johnny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie and Matthew Lillard are the stars in the nineties classics… you guessed it! This stylish film was very inspired by the cyberpunk subculture that flourished in the digital community in the early nineties and is one of the best time capsules of that era.
The Bad: Swordfish (2001)
Swordfish Opens in a sequence in which John Travolta’s character Hugh Jackman is forced to hack the Pentagon and take a blowjob from a woman at gunpoint. From there the film doesn’t get much wiser. If you suspend all disbelief, the movie is almost enjoyable but, unfortunately, if you have any standard, it’s sadly stupid.
Jackman plays Stanley Jobson (Steve Jobs, anyone?), A former thief caught up in a bizarre cyber theft. Travolta plays a cyber villain who wants to intimidate terrorists around the world by using money stolen from the Federal Slash Fund (???). She also has a bad haircut that looks weird like the bad guy supported in the second movie on this list, Hackers booking convention, Swordfish Tells his audience to believe that, in a high physical condition, Jackman is also one of the best hackers in the world. Exactly!
The Ugly: Blackhat (2015)
Michael Mann, a director I respect, tried to turn his significant talents into hacker style. Black hat. Known for similar minor crime thrillers Heat, CollateralAnd Public enemyMann tried to digitize the formula and missed the mark by a large margin.
Loved it SwordfishThe film tells the audience to believe that even the best hacker in the world is at the same time the most suitable man Never. In Mann’s film, the man is Chris Hemsworth (you know, Thor), who is in jail for hacking. However, he was released to help track down a hacker terrorist who used a program like Stuxnet to detonate a nuclear power plant. The movie is mysteriously long (133 minutes), and you really feel it.
The Good: Citizenfor (2015)
Laura Poitras’ documentary about Edward Snowden Leak is a very strange film. As you may know, Poitras was the only one in the room with Snowden when Snowden began to reveal the NSA’s frightening secrets to the world. Those moments of revelation are documented in detail by Poitras’ rigorous camera work. As a result, the film gives viewers a strange impression of seeing historical digital events unfold. That being said, watching is also a must for everyone who uses the internet. Check it out.
The Bad: Snowden (2016)
A year after Poitras’ fascinating documentary about Snowden was released, Oliver Stone decided to dramatize the hacker’s story. I’m usually on board for Stone’s cut-out lefty films, but he made a splash on this film. For one, Joe Gordon Levitt is a bad choice to play Snowden. He doesn’t look like him, and his whistleblower sound is less like a real man’s, and he’s like a vacuum cleaner with a gravel stuck in it. But perhaps the biggest problem is the screenplay (written by Stone and Kiran Fitzgerald), which deals with a really interesting topic with rot biographical gestures in which nothing is revealed. The film has no real production value and is boring.
The Ugly: The Fifth Estate
No one asked the movie about Julian Assange and yet, we got a similar one. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a hacktivist in the days leading up to his imprisonment as he seeks to promote global transparency and spread the military secrets of the American empire to the world. Like Stone Snowden, The film takes a rigorous, predictable approach to storytelling, which is unfortunate as the mysterious, zigzagging person tried to dramatize. For a more interesting but similarly oblique portrait of a man, check out Laura Poitras’ documentary Danger.