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Zero Days

Zero Days
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Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Initial release: 11 February 2016
Director: Alex Gibney
Production companies: Global Produce, Jigsaw Pictures, Participant, Magnolia Pictures, Jigsaw Prods.
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures


OVERVIEW – Zero Days

The internet has been a huge source of controversy for as long as it’s been around. Some have used it for the greater good of society, whereas others, have definitely not. That said one of the biggest and greatest discussions came around the time of the malware worm known as “Stuxnet” was famously used against Iranian centrifuges. Though many have claimed that it may have originated as a joint effort between America and Israel, some are still not sure as neither America, nor have Israel came right out and admitted it.

Even worse, however, is the fact that those who are able to speak about it, choose not to. Why? Is it because they know of a top-secret, confidential mission that’s to never be spoken about to the mainstream media? Or, is it because they have no actual information on what actually happened? Either way, documentarian Alex Gibney is going to get down to the bottom of it all and also figure out just why the internet is such a terribly harmful and dangerous device that any government can use, against whoever they want.

A part of me feels like Zero Days is a bit too early in its release. There’s no doubt that the subject of cyber-hacking, the internet, technology, computers, and the government’s use of all them, deserves to be spoken about and highlighted, in a documentary from Alex Gibney nonetheless, but still, is it too early already?

Either way, Gibney still talks about it and has made a movie about it, so why not just enjoy it for what it is, right?

Well, perhaps “enjoy” isn’t the right word to say when describing the feeling while watching Zero Days, but still, it’s hard not to get swept-up in an Alex Gibney movie. The way he is able to go from one piece of information, to another, without ever making it seem like he’s missing out, is outstanding – you almost get the idea that he’s reading Wikipedia while he speaks and tells everything to us, but it doesn’t matter.

He reads Wikipedia well and honestly, he gets the right people to speak about such a topic, that when all is said and done, we feel like we got to know a thing or two about government-agencies, as opposed to feeling more in the dark than before.

And this is important, too, what with Zero Days being a movie about how government-agencies, like the FBI, don’t ever want to talk about Stuxnet. Seriously. Not even in the slightest bit. It’s a running-joke throughout the flick; it’s almost as if you were asking these subjects about how they got their jobs in the first place. They don’t want to speak about it, nor are they even able to – a perfect “no comment” will suffice.

That said, Gibney gets down deeper than just Stuxnet.

Through his own, journalistic ways, Gibney shows that Stuxnet, whether or not committed by America and Islam in the first place, is a brutal sign of things to come; from now on, government-agencies will now be able and actually want to attack other countries, through the internet, based solely on the fact that they can. Gibney definitely doesn’t doubt that America and Islam had some dirty-dealings in the whole issue, but he also doesn’t doubt that it opens up dirty, vile and dangerous cans of worms that may prove to be more harmful, than actually beneficial, in the long-run.

Then again, a lot of what Zero Days does right, it also falls back on some of its issues. For one, Gibney doesn’t ever try to spell everything out for the whole audience, sitting back, and who are probably watching in their Laz-E Boys. Sure, one could say that this is “fine” and proves just exactly who Gibney’s demographic is, but it also goes to show that maybe, just maybe, some of this is capable of going over people’s heads.

A perfect example of this is the confidential FBI-informant who pops up every now and then, to tell us all what she was told, what she saw, and what she believes in. Right from the start, this narrative-device is fishy and skeptical, but Gibney continues to hammer on and on about it. While it does answer some questions, it’s poorly-delivered in such a way that, honestly, an open-text displaying everything that this person said, would have been better. It would have looked less amateurish and probably not have been so distracting to watch.

But still, Gibney knows how to discuss a controversial issue.

That’s why a good portion of Zero Days is smart, informative and, at times, eye-opening. It asks the rough and tough questions, without delivering so many answers. But for some reason, that’s fine – the world in which we live in now, almost feels like it’s ripe and ready to ask more questions, as well as answer them, about cyberspace. Perhaps this documentary could have waited longer, but hey, the fact that it’s out and raising awareness, is fine enough.

Consensus: Though it could have waited longer, Zero Days offers up an interesting and detailed look at the world of cyberspace, while also showing that the issue may be more troubling than we all expect it to be.

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