Feb 14, 2015


'One day, tracking shots that salalom around a maze of computer chips will look dated as montage shots of spinning newspapers, or those morse-code trails left by airplanes across maps in 1930s serials. Until then we have Blackhat, Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller about hacking, a subject Hollywood has been trying to get right ever since Sandra Bullock ordered online pizza and accidentally tapped her way into an FBI mainframe in 1995’s The Net. From its opening scenes, in which an anonymous hacker brings down the cooling system of a Chinese nuclear plant, Blackhat announces itself as an ineffably superior beast, full of sotte voce chatter about “malware,” “remote access trojans” and “edge routers”, shots of pulsing dots swimming through fiber-optic cables and reluctant male warriors offering their profiles against   pixillated cityscapes suggestive of capitalism’s last stand. In other words, a Michael Mann movie. Our reluctant male warrior in this case is Nicholas Hathaway, a hacker languishing in high-security prison for relieving some banks of $46 million, though he is soon sprung by a US-Chinese coalition keen to use his expertise to track down the anonymous hacker — much like Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter, Mann’s adaptation of the Thomas Harris thriller Red Dragon. There, Lecter was played with cerebral suavety by Brian Cox. Here, Hathaway is played by super-hunk Chris Hemsworth, last seen swinging his hammer as Marvel’s Thor, a bold move on Mann’s against the stereotyping of computers nerds as overweight mole people. Whether audiences will buy what they get instead —which is to say, 200llbs of ripped Australian, whose bookshelves include Foucault and Derria and who pounds away at his computer keyboard with his shirt open three buttons to show an acreage of evenly tanned chest — will depend largely on how sun-kissed audiences will allow your average jailed computer hacker to be.' — from my review of Blackhat for Intelligent Life

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