- FOCUS ON REGIONS
- ACTIVIST IMAGES
Written by Andrew Puhanic
Published on Monday, October 8th, 2012
First and foremost, this is not a critique of Assange and his Wikileaks activities., I’m sure a simple Google search will get you enough information about his life, so I’m not going to cover word for word the life story of Julian Assange, but rather review Underground: The Julian Assange Story for its production.
I do support the activities of Assange and Wikileaks. However, as you will read below, this Telemovie was not what I expected it to be.
Underground: The Julian Assange Story begins with Julian Assange reminiscing on life in Australia as a child. At this point, Julian is portrayed as a ‘battler’ and an innocent victim of living in Australia in the 70’s and 80’s. At the time, his parents were going through a divorce, and Julian and his brother were regrettably caught in the middle.
Unfortunately, this is really where the real portrayal of Assange ends and an orchestrated portrayal of Assange begins.
Throughout Underground: The Julian Assange Story, Assange is portrayed as an innocent victim of society. There appears to be a deliberate attempt to mix Assange’s personal struggles with each and every one of his illegal activities.
For almost each and every scene where Assange hack’s into a network or steals a computer part, there is an immediate scene (or historical recollection) about a struggle from his personal life. This, in my opinion, could potentially lead the viewer into believing Assange become who he was because of his checkered family history, and not because of his mothers’ activist activities.
IN my opinion, the continual amalgamation of personal and illegal activities throughout Underground: The Julian Assange Story only served one purpose, and that was to trick the viewer into feeling sorry for Assange.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Australian Federal Police were made to look foolish and outdated. I don’t know if the Australian Police were that naïve and complacent, but if true, then I truly wonder how many other cyber-criminals there are out there getting away with similar activities Assange had gotten away with.
In fact, when the police begin investigating Assange, the police supposedly didn’t even have a computer to use, making them look even more stupid.
Was this true, or another attempt to portray Assange as the hero?
There was one scene where Assange apparently hacked into the network of the local power supply company. At the press of a button, he show’s his new-found girlfriend, Electra, that he could shut down the power supply of an entire suburb. This scene, in my opinion, is utter bullshit and only serves one purpose, and that was to portray Assange as some sort of crusader.
There was another scene where Assange successfully hacked into the US Army intranet, portraying Assange as accomplishing a feat no one else could achieve. In reality, Assange wasn’t the first to do this, and the viewer could have easily been led to believe he was.
On a more positive note, the actors, cast and crew were exceptional. I think this Telemovie perfectly portrays the depth and quality of the Australian film industry.
Alex Williams, the actor who plays Julian Assange, done an excellent job and I hope this Telemovie serves his career well.
Anthony LaPaglia (Detective Ken Roberts) and Rachael Griffiths (Christine Assange) also starred in Underground: The Julian Assange Story, and added a depth of talent that gave the Telemovie enormous credibility.
Assange was popularized by the launch of Wikileaks in 2006, yet the only mention of this major part of his life were a few scenes of rolling text at the end of the Telemovie.
Yes, I understand that Underground: The Julian Assange Story was based on only one part of Assange’s life, but I think Underground: The Julian Assange Story could have been a much more interesting tale if it was a 2 – 3 part series covering not only his youth, but his life when Wikileaks was founded.
I also wonder how this Telemovie would have turned out if Assange consulted in the production. The director, Robert Connolly, only received a blessing from Assange to make the film, with no further input from Assange.
Underground: The Julian Assange Story was an entertaining Telemovie. If you support Assange, then you’ll love it. If you don’t support Assange, this Telemovie won’t change your opinion of him.
Overall, I rate Underground: The Julian Assange Story 3.5 out of 5 stars.