DIFF 2015: Who Am I – No System Is Safe Review

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Before DIFF began, I took a browse through the film’s calendar to see what might be worth checking out. Came across this odd title and hit play on the preview box to view the trailer. What resulted was a glimpse at a film that felt energetic, fun, kinetic, and full of crazy ideas. Needless to say, I was not mislead. Who Am I – No System Is Safe is a gripping cyberpunk thriller made with a solid perspective on hacking,

The film centers on computer geek, Benjamin Engel, who gets in trouble after hacking a college system to help a girl pass her exam. Benjamin is sent to serve time doing community service for his transgression, but instead of learning from his mistake, he happens to meet another computer hacker named Max. This new friend recruits Benjamin into his group of misfit hackers and together they aim to make a name for themselves as legends among the best of hackers. Unfortunately,when they gain the attention they crave, the new fame comes with all the issues that come with it.

Unlike most films about hacking, this is one of the few movies I’ve seen which has a real understanding of the world and the terminology.It’s rare to see movies like this and hear such phrases like DDosing, script kiddies, etc. Most of Hollywood treats hackers like a stereotypical fat dude, who sits at his laptop decoding a FBI firewall from his mother’s basement. In actuality, most hackers have to work from the outside-in to get something done. Kind of like a heist scenario like in Oceans Eleven. It takes social skills as well as intricate computer skills to acquire the intel needed to crack a network sometimes. Having friends who help create unhackable sites has made me realize this and just how ignorant Hollywood is to that world.

The story is somewhat derivative in sections, however, this isn’t a flaw at all. In fact, the writing sometimes steers into familiar territory and then shifts gears to tinker with your expectations. At one point, I became concerned the writers were driving us towards a plot scenario like Fight Club, and to my relief, the story completely flipped the script and took a fresh direction. This made the experience quite entertaining with the story balancing the line of familiar and unpredictability.

The editing is incredible and possesses a super fast-pace all throughout. It’s one of the few films at DIFF I never found myself checking the time, or looking around the room. To add to the film’s steady rhythm, the music is such a key player to the experience. This film might be an indie project, but if I could buy this soundtrack, I would jam to it as I wrote every review. It’s just such a fun background character for a solid film full of energy.

Between the story, editing, music, and strong characters, Who Am I No System Is Safe is one to lookout for, whether on Video On Demand or theatrically. It’s one of the most entertaining films made about hackers in a long while, as well as the most knowledgeable of the profession. I’m sure some of the elements in the movie are unrealistic but it’s still refreshing to see a movie try to get the world right, as well as let the audience escape reality.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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