Film Review: Zer0 Days (2016)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ – 3/5.

Author: Feargal Agard

Zer0 Days is a documentary film that focuses on a mysterious computer virus, named Stuxnet, that captured the attention of anti-virus and internet security specialists. Although the virus gradually spread all over the world, even into computers of innocent civilians, there is one country where the virus is heavily infested; Iran. The usual suspects in cyberspace are criminal hackers who steal information that can be sold or hacktivists who are trying to make a political stand, but the complexity behind the design of this virus lead the specialists in this film to believe that a country or several countries must be behind it. But who launched such a virus? And why is Iran the main target? Several suspects are mentioned; Israel, the United States and several European countries, but there is no clear evidence, nor will any country open up about it or admit anything. This triggered Alex Gibney’s mission to shed more light on this mysterious virus.

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Zer0 Days is basically the revelation story of a new form of warfare; Cyber war or cyber attacks. The film is directed by Alex Gabney who attempts to discover the truth about the Stuxnet computer virus. Just as any documentary we start at the beginning. He interviews internet security specialists and as we are taken through a Matrix-like graphic designed computer world, we come to understand that they are part of the people who first took notice of this virus. Their conclusions lead him to approach government and intelligence officials. His attempts to interview them do not deliver him any information. Until he through a funny twist, which is later revealed in the film, is able to reveal classified information in regard of this mystery. In the documentary, it is claimed that the information is given by angry intelligence workers who are afraid to be exposed. One of the secrets that they reveal is that the virus attempts to literally sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.

Zer0 Days is presented through a contemporary documentary-style. Meaning the utilization of typical talking heads of interviewees and a variety of graphic computer database images and documentation spanning from Iranian, Israeli and western footage of political leaders and government-owned facilities. Which helps the narrative, because this film is not about depicting spectacular images. It is about getting important officials to speak and find out the truth. The film attempts to open a discussion that should warn us about the unintended consequences, power, technology, the dangers of secrecy and morality issues surrounding the use and launching of cyber weapons.

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Although Zer0 Days is quite lengthy, which for some reason is something you might not expect from a documentary nowadays. And the documentary in a way does jump from subject to subject and the twist that is later revealed in the film seems predictable. It manages to maintain your interest because it intriguingly presents this new discovery of secret covert missions that according to this documentary are carried out by our very own governments. This is why Zer0 Days is an interesting watch for anyone who shares an interest in mysteries, conspiracies, classified projects and cyber weapons.

In Dutch theatres as from the 30th of March.

All rights of this film and the pictures displayed are owned and reserved to the righful owners.

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