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We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (Assange, Manning)

Cd/Dvd Reviews - Film

Will Bates



by Lynden Barber on June 26, 2013 (June 26, 2013) filed under Film | Comment Now
Short on new detail, there’s not much to blow a whistle about.

This latest from the prolific Oscar- winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) is a great primer for those who haven’t closely followed the travails of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. The trouble is, they’re the people unlikely to want to see it, while those who have followed the story may find there’s too little new here to fully satisfy. There’s so much in this story – the ongoing Swedish rape case against Assange could take up an entire film on its own – that filmmakers brave enough to tackle it need to be judicious about where they focus.

Gibney not only covers pretty much all of the ground, he also shoehorns in a huge amount of material on Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of the US diplomatic leaks hosted by the website to world headlines, undermining the narrative logic and pushing the duration to 130 minutes. Did we need to know about Manning’s gender identity issues in such detail? That said, the film has access to some fascinating expert witnesses and commentators, with journalists Mark Davis (SBS TV) and Nick Davies (The Guardian) and ex-CIA chief General Michael Hayden especially compelling.