- 1 hr 27 min
Risk is an intriguing and introspective documentary that follows the tumultuous journey of Julian Assange, the infamous founder of WikiLeaks, from 2011 to 2016. The movie, directed by Laura Poitras, opens with Assange and his team strategizing their next move in their mission to expose the world's most powerful governments and corporations. However, as the film progresses, it delves deeper into the complicated relationships between Assange, his inner circle, and the consequences of their actions.
The documentary is split into two distinct yet intertwined parts. The first half of the film primarily focuses on the events surrounding the release of the notorious "Collateral Murder" video, which depicted American soldiers killing civilians and journalists in Iraq. This leak brought Wikileaks into the spotlight, and Assange gains widespread admiration for his courage and transparency. However, this newfound fame comes at a cost, and Risk exposes the more complex aspects of Assange's personality, such as his controlling nature and his disregard for the safety of his team.
Throughout the film, we are introduced to Sarah Harrison, one of Assange's closest advisors, and Jacob Appelbaum, a former WikiLeaks volunteer. These two individuals, along with Assange, become the main characters that the movie follows. We learn about their motivations, relationships, and how they are affected by the media attention that comes with being associated with WikiLeaks.
The second half of the movie shifts its focus to Assange's time in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought asylum in 2012. Risk highlights the psychological toll that this confinement takes on Assange and his team. The film shows how Assange becomes increasingly paranoid and controlling, and how this causes several members of his team, including Harrison, to distance themselves from him.
Throughout the film, Poitras intercuts scenes from different points in time, leading to a fragmented timeline that mirrors the chaotic nature of the events taking place. The editing style also contributes to the suspenseful atmosphere of the movie, as the audience is kept guessing about what will happen next.
The documentary also delves into the legal battles Assange faced during this time. We see his conviction for skipping bail and his unsuccessful attempt to fight extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault charges. The movie does an excellent job of highlighting how these legal battles served as a distraction and caused significant stress on Assange and his team.
Despite the film's complexity, it manages to maintain an intimate focus on the people involved in WikiLeaks. Risk humanizes these individuals and gives audiences a glimpse into the sacrifices they made in their mission to bring transparency to the world. At the same time, the film also raises essential questions about the ethics of leaking confidential information and the role of the media in disseminating this information.
Overall, Risk is a gripping documentary that explores the complexities of one of the most significant whistleblowing incidents in recent history. The film does an excellent job of balancing its focus on the individuals involved and the broader societal implications of their actions. It is a must-watch for those interested in the interplay between transparency, privacy, and freedom of speech in the digital age.
Risk is a 2017 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 72.