The internet can be a dangerous place. People can appear completely different online than how they are in the real world, and it’s the oldest con artist trick in the book. Well, probably an e-book nowadays, but I digress. Hackers are the new con artists and will infiltrate your personal and financial details online for their benefit, and with everyone so willingly using the internet, the world’s a hacker’s oyster.
This is what makes Who Am I – No System Is Safe a brilliant hacker thriller. Playing as part of the Audi German Film Festival, this film tells the tale of Benjamin (Tom Schilling), a socially awkward hacker who falls for a girl that doesn’t like him back. Out of both frustration and circumstance, he falls in with a group of hackers who play pranks on political parties and the authorities, very extreme things that shock the nation, and no one can trace it all back to them. But despite all this crazy stuff, they still fail to get the approval of alpha hacker Mr. X, making the group way over their heads and into imminent danger.
Movie buffs will dig this film as it’s almost like a German David Fincher movie, a mix of Fight Club‘s anarchy and The Social Network‘s technological phobias. The fast-paced editing and the constant dark lighting and bleak settings all scream Fincher. There’s even a Fight Club poster in Benjamin’s bedroom. Don’t be surprised if there’s a Hollywood remake of this directed by Fincher himself some day; he did film the remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo after all.
But besides all its Fincher-isms, Who Am I is a great thriller in its own right, and also has a really cool way of depicting the online world, by having masked men interact with each other the speeding, ever changing train that is the internet, far much more sinister than seeing some guys typing on their laptops. The film’s both a visual feast for the eyes and a great game of wondering what dangers these overzealous hackers will face next.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Monday 18 May 2015