Mercury Rising (1998)

Here is a two-birds-with-one-stone movie trope movie: autistic hacker and the bloodthirsty NSA.  Should have been called Mercury Falling since it involved a code being brought down but then things wouldn’t have been heating up!

I can’t speak to autism because I don’t know enough about it.  It sounds like they were more referencing the Savant syndrome instead of autism and while many savants have autism, not all folks with autism are savants.  I’ll leave it to others to judge the portrayal of autism and just mention that vaccines don’t cause autism (age of onset and age of vaccination are correlations not causations).  Herd immunity is not enough, go get your kids vaccinated!

Now, take a look at that bureaucratic and bloodthirsty NSA!

Seriously, it’s a weird blend of 60’s/70’s paranoia and the Cynic philosophy.  I prefer skeptical pragmatism as an ideology but that’s an oxymoron.  Here we have pencil pushers, nerds and administrators who suddenly start solving problems by hiring gunmen to kill a suburban family for a kid that no one cares about or will ever know about.

The premises featured made little to no sense in order to have Bruce Willis shoot people, have an extremely awkward relationship with a strange woman and save the child!

The secret code in this movie is just a macguffin and never well explained but keep in mind that 15 years ago, this was a typical and generally accepted portrayal of the NSA.  Just think about that.  The general public thought it was perfectly acceptable in a storyline to believe that the USA has government employees in charge of keeping our communications secure and penetrating the enemies who also really think it’s okay to murder a little boy and each other.  Go check out the guys in IT and imagine them garroting someone to keep the email server safe.

It’s movies like this that paved the way for the tv show Alias.  Once you’re “in”, you can do anything you want but you can’t talk to anyone (even each other!) about anything or we will literally murder you to death!

Put another way, this is part of the endless blow-back from Church and Pike.