Is Julian Assange a free-speech hero or a dangerous threat to national security? The answer isn’t black-and-white in Alex Gibney’s riveting documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks, about the charismatic founder of WikiLeaks, the online repository of classified state secrets. Gibney, the Oscar-winning muckraker who’s been on a roll lately with exposés about torture by the American military, the collapse of Enron, and the scandals in the Catholic Church, provides an evenhanded look at the Australian cyber-troublemaker. He paints the cheeky, ghoulish-looking Assange as both a brilliant provocateur who speaks truth to power and a self-promoting creep, egomaniac, and alleged sexual predator.
We Steal Secrets has more on its mind than just one merry prankster spilling intel from behind a laptop. It grapples with the thorniest problems we face in the 21st century: How accountable should our government be to its citizens in the age of terror? Where does the letter of the law begin and end in the Wild West of the Internet? Should august members of the fourth estate like The New York Times get into bed with the likes of Assange? Gibney raises more questions than he can possibly answer in a single two-hour film. But he has a gift for making arcane and seemingly dry issues accessible and, yes, even nail-bitingly tense. (Available on VOD 6/7) A-