Sneakers (1992)

Synopsis:  The movie that started it all for me.  Go watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

“The world isn’t run by weapons anymore or energy or money.  It’s run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data.  It’s all just electrons.”

“There’s a war out there old friend, a world war, and it’s not about who’s got the most bullets.  It’s about who controls the information – what we see and hear, how we work, what we think.  It’s all about the information.”

I’m biased but I still think this movie is awesome.  Once again I didn’t understand much of it 21 years ago but that didn’t keep me from enjoying it, I think it sort of contributed to the mystery.  It’s interesting to see someone describing hacking around RSA, although the methods used a year ago were closer to Bishop kicking the door in instead of attempting the keypad compared to what Janek was expounding on.  What’s even better is the story of how they convinced Len Adleman to give technical guidance for the movie.

I think the movie appeals to the golden age of hacking (whistler is a nod to Joe Engressia, the S(crunch)y and Captain Crunch references to John Draper) combined with the golden age of espionage (NSA, CIA, FBI, college hijinks in hacking, “tech gear” popular in 90’s espionage movies, crawling through ventilation).  Liz is right when she describes it all as a boy’s club and then she ends up as a honeypot provocateur.

I think we’ll always have a soft spot and sentimental wish that intuitive human analog abilities will somehow provide the inductive reasoning needed to solve an unsolvable problem.  The old ways of cryptology are more entry-level and thereby increase the level of immersion for the audience.  Anagramming?  Yeah, we can do anagramming.  Hard-wire a chip that will defeat any public-key cryptography?  I’ll just see myself to the door.

At least we still have a shot at Kryptos.

Seriously though, go re-watch Sneakers.