Risk throws so much information at the viewer in its 87 minutes that it demands repeated viewings. Ostensibly a portrait of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Laura Poitras’ documentary twists and turns down all sorts of roads until it becomes a movie about men with enormous egos and the damage they do to their own causes. Whatever one thinks about Assange, at this point his reputation as an accused sexual assaulter is married to his identity as global agitator. (That he comes off as unbearably smug doesn’t help him, either.) Furthermore, one of Assange’s sometime-collaborators, Jacob Appelbaum, who plays a prominent role in Risk, has been accused of sexual abuse (both men have denied the claims against them). So it’s hard to focus on WikiLeaks’ goals or effectiveness as presented in Kem>Risk when its founder is under a criminal microscope. Perhaps that’s the point: When someone like Assange, whose mission is to reveal to the world the rotten things politicians do, is besmirched, it’s hard to take him seriously. Is it conspiracy? Or is he truly a bastard? Watch it more than once. Draw your own conclusions.
Director: Laura Poitras
Producer: Laura Poitras, Brenda Coughlin, Sam Esmail, Michael Bloom, Adam Pincus, Charlotte Cook, AJ Schnack, Jess Search, David Menschel and Josh Braun
Cast: Julian Assange