I like watching movies about hacking. There are only two possible outcomes of me watching this kind of movies: they’re fantastic OR they’re terrible. If the movie is fantastic, I’m going to enjoy it of course. But, if the movie is terrible, I’m going to laugh my ass of how stupidly hacking is displayed in that movie.
Well, this movie goes into that other group. It’s called Algorithm (like you haven’t seen that coming from the title of the post). I’m going to start my story by talking about how I found out about this movie.
A couple of hours ago I was just browsing my Twitter feed like I usually do. But this time, there was a certain link to a blog post that got my attention. It’s a post by Jonathan Schiefer, a writer and a director of this film. In a post titled The Free Future Starts Now, he talks about how piracy changed the way he looks at his movie. He didn’t earn much from the movie (not even enough to compensate the money he spent making the movie), but still, he did something marvelous. He shared his movie with the world for free for 24 hours. He knew that after those 24 hours are over, the pirating of the movie is going to be unstoppable, but that didn’t stop him from doing that. Now, his movie is all over the internet, and he feels damn proud about that.
I’ve never done a movie review before (hell, I don’t remember even reading any), especially not in English (I’m just saying this because I’m not a native English speaker as you probably notices by now), but I will give it a go. That’s the least I can do for Jonathan and his excellent piece of work.
This is the first movie I ever rated on IMDb and it got a perfect 10 from me. The movie is a perfect example that you can make a movie about hacking without making something up. Everything I saw in this movie is possible, and that’s something that really impressed me. It’s something that made this movie stand up from the rest of the similar movies I saw. Everything seems possible. Although I didn’t like the way hackers are represented in the movie (I think of a hacker more in an ideological way, as someone who thinks outside the box, not as someone who breaks computer systems), I completely understand why Jonathan decided to represent hackers in such way.
This movie covers a story about a hacker (or if you’re like me, the term cracker might work better for you) who will try to break into anything he wants. He went out of line once and broke into some government database, which was a big mistake (of course). His friends were tortured by the government because of that and in the end he himself got tortured because a friend of his betrayed him. After they tortured him, the government did offer him a job, something that would probably happen if this was a real life situation (think of Sabu as a perfect example). I don’t want to spoil everything so I’m not going to say anything more about the story. I highly suggest you to pirate the movie if you’re interested.
What I liked even more than the story was the way the technology was described in the movie. He talks about Linux, about Tor browser, the disadvantages of the open WiFi network, the disadvantages of proprietary programming languages, and the main ideology of every hacker: that the information should be free.
Jonathan even went one step ahead as he adopted those words from the movie in the real life by sharing the movie with the world.
As he said in the blog post I linked, it all started with the software. Then came the books. Next stop was sharing the music. Now, we’re at a stage where sharing movies is something we encounter with on a regular basis. And the next stop is going to be sharing small physical objects (by using 3D printers).
I’m going to end the post by sharing the last couple of sentences from the post Jonathan published, because I really think that those sentences cover it all:
When everything is free there won’t be any poor. There won’t be any wealth inequalities. There won’t be people starving because anyone can just print food. People won’t go into debt for the rest of their life to go to college because we’ll have equal access to information and art. There will be no tricking the ignorant because people won’t be ignorant because information will be free.
I’m crazy enough to believe I can help change the world. And the world I want is when the future is free!”
EDIT: The whole movie is now released completely free and you can watch it from YouTube right here:
The movie really got some attention and at the moment of writing this edit it has over 170,000 views.