In Alex Gibney’s new documentary, Zero Days, one interviewee recalls how he felt that he was living in a Bond movie, and you can see what he means. The film is a fast-moving, nerve-racking international thriller involving espionage, classified operations, sneak attacks on foreign nuclear facilities and the shadow of armageddon. All that’s lacking is a hero as reassuringly capable and honourable as James Bond.
Instead, Zero Days is reminiscent of that scene in Skyfall when Q tells 007 that he can do more damage with his laptop before his morning cup of Earl Grey than Bond can do in a year. Secret agents with guns and exploding pens are now the stuff of historical dramas, it seems. Today’s spycraft is all about malware and worms and Programmable Logic Controllers – so anyone seeing Zero Days should prepare for sheaves of techno-jargon. But Gibney, the director of Going Clear, We Steal Secrets and the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, has once again taken a potentially bamboozling subject and arranged it into such a clear and compelling narrative that even an IT-ignoramus – me – can follow it.
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