The Internet has made our world a smaller place. We are instantly able to communicate with people from across the globe. We research more than what is contained in our local schools and libraries. It has allowed for global economy to grow in leaps and bounds. But it has also given access to those dangerous forces, such as terrorists, an easy way to form a cell of operatives as well as launder money to fund their operations. Does the constant growth need pioneers that walk that thin line of moral ambiguity? That is the question posed by director Adam Bhala Lough (The Motivation) in his latest documentary THE NEW RADICAL, opening in cinemas December 1.
Cody Wilson might have become just your typical Central Texas lawyer. But when he discovered how useful 3-D printing was becoming, in combination with his strong belief in 2nd Amendment rights, he strove to create a company that sold blueprints for a fully functioning firearm that is made up of 3-D printed material. Initial interest was small, and the company was on the verge of disappearing without making a splash, when someone reported it to the ATF. Suddenly, Cody’s company and mission was newsworthy and sparked a wildfire of interest.
Cody is a very intelligent man. He is well read and can speak to his points in a way that is disarming. He provokes thought, whether it is in his interest or not. He is a shit stirrer, and boy, does he enjoy it! As we neared the 2016 election, rather than backing a candidate who proposed less gun laws, he campaigned for Hillary Clinton. Not for any particular ideology, but for the fact that if gun control laws were passed by a Democratic President, then his company would profit.
Amir Taaki was a young game developer born and raised in London. After teaching himself C++ programming language, Taaki delved into the world of open source software when he first heard about the digital cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin. Being an early adopter, Taaki helped Bitcoin take off in Britain.
Both accomplished young men, Taaki and Wilson met at a conference and quickly bonded over their viewpoints. They each appreciate anarchic goals yet have differing paths on how to achieve them. After a lot of back and forth communications, the two decided to create a new service called Dark Wallet, an online wallet for cryptocurrency that kept things fully encrypted and anonymous. While they could have aimed for advertising towards people wanting to break free of banks, they opted instead for the route of saying how much easier and protected it was for money laundering. Unsurprisingly, this approach put them under the radar of governments.
THE NEW RADICAL does a great job of presenting both sides to the argument, without painting Wilson, Taaki, or others on the fringe like Julian Assange, as heroes or all out villains. We see their good, we also see their bad. Wilson is powered by a capitalistic greed while having a firm grasp on logistics. Taaki is a firebrand that inspires others to the cause of liberating and empowering women and children in Syria, yet can’t stay out of trouble for minor things like hopping a turnstile or arguing with a police officer until it comes to blows.
The film does a great job of showing the evolution of each man and their relationship together. It allows us to see what this hyper intelligent people can do together, yet still have them not fully trust the other. And the score by Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) subtly heightens tension when needed, allows you to calm float along in quiet moments, all the while feeling like you’re part of a digital world.
THE NEW RADICAL is coming to cinemas December 1st, 2017. For showtimes and more information about the film, find it at the director’s site.