“Citizenfour” director Laura Poitras, delved into the complex world of Wikileaks in her newest film, Risk.
After six years of filming, Poitras has created her most intimate film to date. Risk drops its viewers into the clandestine world that Wikileaks has built for itself and how it affects its participants.
The protagonist of the film is none other than the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. Throughout Risk, Poitras is able to paint a clear picture of Assange as a man who will do almost anything to unleash the truth regardless of the consequences. However, it is important to note that Poitras does not put him on a pedestal like a martyr, but rather as an epic anti-hero hell-bent on providing humanity with a mirror to see themselves properly.
Throughout Risk you are able to see the many demons that Assange must face on a daily basis. Such as his looming sexual assault case in Sweden, which causes him to seek solace at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in order to avoid extradition. Or that Assange fails to think of himself as a “normal human being.” Perhaps one of the most intriguing insights in Assange’s personality within Risk is his ability to rationalize all of his actions without a slight deference to other opinions.
Risk is a film that is filled with quirks that you can find yourself mulling over for hours afterward. One of the most compelling scenes in the film is when Lady Gaga decides to head over to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to interview assange in Victorian, Gothic-inspired attire. Lady Gaga glides through an array of questions that seem simple enough, but the complexity of Assange’s life pokes through and he finds himself shaking off the idea of being “normal.” During the interview Assange acknowledges that his life is nothing short of extraordinary and that his vision goes far deeper than whatever might involve himself.
Risk is a compelling political documentary on how Wikileaks has affected the international community since 2011. This documentary also touches on controversial whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and the injustices they face as foils to Assange’s fate. This documentary is a must see for those interested in the international community and are interested in receiving more facts from the media.
The pace of this film was engaging with a plethora of twists and turns that will leave the audience wondering who exactly are the good guys. However, all in all, Poitras painted a complex portrait of Wikileaks and whether or not it is a good or bad source of information in the world today.
Risk was released in theatres with a limited release on May 5, 2017.