We’re Watching You Watching the Trailer for WikiLeaks Documentary ‘Risk’
In appearances at film festivals or the occasional blockbuster exhibit at the Whitney Museum, documentarian Laura Poitras gives the impression of a pretty collected, cool-headed woman. Which comes as a surprise, seeing as few people on Earth would have more justification for turning into a raving paranoid lunatic. Poitras wowed the world in 2014 with her Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, wherein she risked life and limb to gain access to the classified intelligence whistleblower and ran afoul of the United States’ far-reaching surveillance programs in the process. A few years later, and she’s prepared to unveil her latest stunning exposé on the shady business of federal watching, the lightning rod Risk. If you weren‘t feeling uneasy about the virtual eyeballs monitoring your every move, now would be a fine time to get started.
Risk sees Poitras shifting focus from Snowden to the world’s other most wanted man, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange. He was right in the thick of the fog of confusion that surrounded the behind-the-scenes mischief during the 2016 Presidential election — talks of hacking and leaking and Russian espionage all seemed to lead back to him, and Poitras gained unprecedented access to the self-fashioned renegade in order to get some answers. The trailer shows her getting up close and personal with the polarizing figure (warrior of truth to some, conspiracy-mongering crackpot to others), but more chilling still is the implication that Poitras herself has now become the subject of unwanted attentions. She notices that the door to her home is slightly ajar when she returns from a trip; could she have been so absentminded as to leave it open? Or is it a sign that she’s vulnerable?
Citizenfour played like a techno-James Bond flick rendered terrifying by the knowledge that it’s all real, and it looks like Risk will amplify that same uneasy tension when it comes to theaters via distributor NEON at some point this summer with an accompanying run on Showtime. So by all means, go about your business today as usual, but keep in mind that they can see us, and we don’t even know who they are. None of us are safe. Happy Monday!