This file was generated 2003-03-08 07:10 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2003-03-08.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> November 2002 >> Hackers
It's amusing to see filmmakers try to make computer cracking look glamorous. It's mostly a lot of typing, and most of that is into text windows, not pretty graphical displays. The part that isn't done by typing is done by tricking people into giving up crucial information, often over the phone, known as "social engineering". WarGames used these as the launching point into a character-driven suspense flick. Tron glossed over most of the details of the cracking and went straight into a dazzling universe "inside" the computer. The Matrix made the whole universe something to crack. Sneakers was a battle of wits that played up the intrigue and relationships instead of the computers. Hackers wishes it were any of these movies, and trips itself up something fierce trying to make visually exciting something quintessentially uncinematic. I will award points for the stunning visualization of the computer's contents, even if such a display in real life would have to be made a bit more readable.
I could go on and on about the technical inaccuracies of the film, and I want to, but I'm not going to. The characters are so easy to bash that there's less fun in going after the computers. I'm not sure if I liked the writing or the performances less. I'm sure the performances could've risen above the writing, but I don't recall it actually happening. I also despised the costumes, which almost certainly reflect some dance-related culture better than computer culture. I know Johnny Lee Miller's character is supposed to be somewhat socially stunted, but I think he overdid it. Angelina Jolie delivers a decidedly unsubtle performance that looks way past high school. Even Matthew Lilliard, who I'll forgive for almost anything, seems weak. I know he has comic abilities, but this is not the showcase for them. Even the non- techies stink, with Lorraine Bracco's delivery rising below the rest. The one character I liked a little was Penn Jillette's Hal, but mostly because it was Penn.