Do you remember Stuxnet? It was a malignant computer worm, first discovered in 2010, that infected… well, seemingly every computer out there. Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney – best known for Taxi to the Dark Side and Going Clear – explains in exhaustive detail how Stuxnet is an offshoot of the Israeli government performing a cyber terrorist attack on Iran. Yes, really. Starting with Stuxnet, Zero Days explores the failures and dangers of the intelligence community, with a particular focus on cyber terrorism. Shocker: it turns out that things are way, way worse than we imagined!
Admittedly, this is a “Washington” movie to the core. Gibney’s talking heads include politicians, intelligence officials, and former spies. There is B-roll of the Capital Building, the White House, and various other DC locales. There is lengthy, passionate discussion about the unintended negative consequences of the government deeming too many documents to be “classified.” If this sounds dry, rest assured that Gibney films Zero Days so it unfolds like an international thriller, and not a jargon-filled policy discussion. The film’s lesson is an important one to internalize: there is lots of true crime that happens in DC all the time, but usually it’s on such a massive scale that it’s hard to all see at once.