As a security professional I know the levers and buttons behind the smoke of Oz. There’s not much that surprises me in the field. Anyone that has actually hacked a system before knows it’s not all that glamourous. I’m not saying hacking ops never involve hot girls, guns, fast cars, and secret orders that go up in a puff of smoke after being read, but my missions are far more sublime. As a result, my expectations for computer security movies coming out of Hollywood these days is not very high but I am presently surprised with Algorithm: The Hacker Movie.
The movie begins with a loner on the edge of society. Earning money from occasional odd side jobs, even to the point of occasionally sleeping outside, living with friends and hacking. The desire to hack is a deep desire to solve puzzles (which drives many of us). You get the impression hacking not a job but a way of life. The character also narrates the story occasionally so you get a chance to learn what he’s thinking, his motivations, his relationships with friends. The acting was perhaps not outstanding but it was believable. I like the tone of the movie, quiet and not splashy. The quite tone reminded me of watching Twilight movies but more grown-up. Many movies portray hackers as bright social misfits but most real hackers don’t have ADD, OCD, or other social disorders. Many of the brightest minds in the field can carry a conversation and do enjoy a daily shower. Yes, I do have friends with binary tattooed on their knuckles, OCD, and such. But the real truth about hackers is really somewhere in between. The mix of characters in this movie seemed quirky yet believable which is less polarized and more true to life.
Fact is, real hacking is boring to watch. Nobody gets excited watching someone solve a crossword puzzle. The film makers made the film exciting while keeping more or less true to the overall security theme earns it a thumbs up in my opinion. Oh almost forgot, I even learned something about security in the movie I didn’t know prior to watching – Port Knocking.
Algorithm: The Hacker Movie, movie link