Movie Review : ALGORITHM : The Hacker Movie

Browsing endlessly in search of some more obscure tortoise porn I landed somehow at the movie Algorithm. The movie it seems has been released on YouTube by the maker Jon Schiefer. If Reddit or any of the online forums collaborated to make a movie it would probably look like this. The movie has lots of government related paranoia which is a key feature at  these forums and also handles some amount of debunking related to hollywood hacking. The entire movie if anything can be seen as a long thread about NSA spying on any of the internet forums. Cue these scene –

  1. In a bar when the lead character (called LU$er) is demonstrating to a group of people that how the government is spying on all of them as well, one of the guy asks the question, “but I don’t do anything wrong, so I don’t have anything to fear” – which seems like a common response or what the forums (or the director) think a common response to their probing questions is.
  2. When the LU$er helps escape his friend from the DHS facility, the DHS people ask for the CCTV footage and once they see it they go all hollywood on it – “Can you increase the resolution, please?” The response – “I can increase the contrast but cannot add resolution”. Heh.

However, the movie also misses out on lots of  things which could have made it more reliable – The main plot is the hacker trying to access a sort of Government secret database (which as it turns out is their people tracking search system, complete with live feed of their torture centers). He gains access to the application which is behind a login screen by getting the user ID/ password of the NSA chief. Anyway. Why would such a secret application be not behind even the most basic 2-factor authentication?

I mean we are talking databases here, something which sits in zone 3, there’s no way you gain access to it just because you managed to hack into the personal laptops of one of the CTOs. But maybe I am just nitpicking.

Also, are you telling me that one can just walk into a DHS facility where a sole receptionist sits checking her facebook feed and ask for a prisoner transfer?

The movie’s plot is kinda lazy and never gains pace. LU$er for some weird reason continues to mess with the government application even after his friend has been kidnapped and clearly is after him. The movie ends with a possible suggestion that all this was a ploy to get this guy to work for NSA or some such thing. Terrible plot, poor acting and bad direction. Yeah we get it that NSA is trying to spy on all of us, but come-on, try and move from that 9 words plot for once.

Still awaiting a good computer/ hacking movie.


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