We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, the latest work from acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney, explores the creation of WikiLeaks—the world-changing website that facilitated the biggest security breach in US history.
Throughout this documentary, we’re provided with a dual character study: one of Julian Assange, the mysterious mastermind behind WikiLeaks, the other of Private Bradley Manning, the whistle blower who leaked a surplus of secrets to WikiLeaks in a time of personal crisis.
Gibney has gone to the trouble here of detailing the specifics, as well as the broader strokes of an issue that continues to consume the US, and to a lesser extent, the rest of us.
Although some of it feels familiar, Gibney illuminates the murkier areas of the subject, making for a deeply fascinating exploration of a complex issue.
The characters of Assange and Manning make for a gripping double bill. Both are socially and politically divisive for their actions, but are often positioned differently when their heroism is brought into question.
‘Lights on, rats out’, a phrase used by Assange, is an apt reading of their motivations: to rid their domains of the corrupted clutter that obscures our worldview.
Through his script, Gibney delicately represents both characters, understanding, without judgement, the results of their actions.
Intelligent but accessible, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is a probing and deeply compelling documentary that examines the familiar and unfamiliar details of WikiLeaks, as well as the characters of Assange and Manning, with a confident, even-handed assurance.
by Sebastian Moore