02nd Aug2019

‘The Great Hack’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Featuring: Brittany Kaiser, David Carroll, Paul-Olivier Dehaye, Julian Wheatland, Carole Cadwalladr, Ravi Naik, Paul Hilder, Christopher Wylie, Emma Graham-Harrison, Gill Phillips, Sarah Donaldson, Roger McNamee | Written by Karim Amer, Erin Barnett, Pedro Kos | Directed by Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim


It is becoming increasingly clear that Netflix is at its best within its market of original content when it crafts documentaries. The Great Hack, directed by duo Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, reinforces said attribute tenfold with an eerie, informative and enlightening account with a subject matter on the world’s fastest-growing asset – consumer data. An extraordinary venture that begins with one man’s mission to gain his data back from a consumer and soon opens up a world that touches on firestorms ranging from political agendas and fraud, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the infamous data scandal from Facebook.

The Great Hack is a deep and profound documentary that will knock its audience sick with the horrific details it explores. Any excellent documentary will always suffice if it is informative, and this is no exception to the rule. The level of detail here is exhilarating. Unearthing and uncovering what is essentially the greatest scandal you have never heard of and probably will never understand in the 21st century. At times, there are a lot of niches and inner circle dialogue about this situation that even a veteran of the industry would probably struggle with how dense it all is, and the film never wants to open itself up for casual viewers, ultimately alienating a great deal of potential audiences on the streaming site in which it lives.

However, with each sequence, The Great Hack manages to gobsmack its audience with a detailed exploration of a terrifying act, after another terrifying act. Interviewing employees and instigators involved in a whole host of crimes from conglomerates who have taken millions of people’s private information and exploited it for their own needs, financial and/or political gains.

There is an extraordinary amount of information to be found here. Most of it on a single viewing is going to go over its audiences’ head completely; at least there is a re-watch ability value found here. Although with the sheer amount of expositional voice-over and events that have to be explored purely to add context is more than a little underwhelming, and even with a running time of one hundred and fourteen minutes, it is still an often harsh and rushed viewing that would easily have sufficed as a miniseries of sorts.

The Great Hack is available to watch on Netflix now.


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