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Parents' Guide to

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Documentary tackles complex issues of truth and safety.

Movie R 2013 130 minutes
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks Poster Image

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A documentary about the highly revered (or reviled, depending on your stance) Assange and Manning is clearly in the very capable Gibney's wheelhouse as a nonfiction storyteller. Gibney has tackled incredibly tough subjects in his career as a filmmaker -- the war in Afghanistan (Taxi to the Dark Side), corrupt super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff (Casino Jack and the United States of Money), and the child-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church (Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God). Here, he manages to present a balanced view of all the people involved in the scandal and finds articulate international hackers and transparency journalists who fervently believe in WikiLeaks' mission to give people access to the truth -- however horrifying those truths might be to the general public.

Although Assange's ardent supporters may think Gibney has villainized the Aussie, the provocateur does that all by himself by not allowing the filmmaker to interview him directly (although there's more than enough additional footage of Assange to fill the documentary). Gibney spends more than two hours giving audiences a look at the timeline and the events of the story -- and also pulling back the curtain on the many myths surrounding Assange (particularly the idea that the two Swedish women who filed a sexual coercion case against him were somehow tied to the CIA or other international forces, a claim that Gibney found no evidence to support). No one emerges as a pure hero or bad guy, but, at the very least, Manning, who's the one in prison, comes off as highly sensitive and in some ways just a young broken soul desperate to make people understand the ugly truth of war and national security.

Movie Details

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