When troubled US Army private Bradley Manning released secret military and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, he unwittingly set in motion a cycle of recrimination and panic that spanned the globe. At its heart sits the complex, crusading figure of Julian Assange.
With so much source material available it’s hard to see what Alex Gibney might bring to freshen the story of Wikileaks, Julian Assange and whistleblower Bradley Manning. Though a documentary it plays like fiction, and Manning’s story is especially heartbreaking, a conflicted soldier thrown to Obama’s wolves. Assange preens in and out of shot though never as an interviewee (he’s since denounced the film) while making the transition from moral crusader to egocentric figurehead, as ex-CIA officials appear to concur that, perhaps, there are too many secrets choking our world.
Alex Gibney adds to his forensic examinations of Enron and Abu Ghraib with another fine documentary. Undeterred by grey areas or the hostility of his subject, the filmmaker tackles one of the stories of our times with dynamism and smarts.