Friday, 29 January 2016
When Hackers came out, a number of my IT-enthusiast friends were deeply critical of its unrealistic "Hollywood" depiction of how computer systems and the hacking culture actually function. Their complaints were all factually accurate, but I think they were rather missing the point. This film is not trying to depict realistic modern-day technology, in the way that say Sneakers had done a few years before. Not in the slightest. Because despite its then-contemporary setting, Hackers is a cyberpunk film.
Don't believe me? Consider its depiction of the digital realm as a virtual cityscape, or the way that computer programs are represented by graphical avatars. Consider the punk fashions worn by the hacker characters, and the importance of music within their improbably public, anti-establishment community. Consider that the good guys are the disaffected youth and the bad guy is a corporate stooge. Consider that said bad guy (who is admittedly a pretentious ass) describes them as "cyber samurai". Consider that the super computer in it is named after (renowned cyberpunk author) William Gibson. This is a movie that does everything it can to make its inspiration clear, short of wearing a pair of mirrorshades.
The plot? Oh, it's some pleasantly goofy nonsense about a corporate security guy trying to bilk his own company of millions of dollars while covering his tracks by blaming hackers for a series of cyber attacks on the organisation. The hackers, of course, roll up their cyber sleeves and fight back. It's frankly all delightfully over the top and carried along by the charm of its cast, including Jonny Lee Miller, Matthew Lillard, and a frighteningly young Angelina Jolie.
Go into it with your eyes open as to what it really is, and you should enjoy your time with Hackers.