Sunday night, Amy and I watched the new documentary Zero Days. It’s the story of Stuxnet, the computer virus created by a set of nation states (including the US and Israel) which was intended to disable and/or slow down Iran’s nuclear program.
I’d read about Stuxnet several times over the past few years so I knew a lot – at least what was able to be cobbled together. I also remember the mainstream media discussion on it well as I was fascinated by it.
The documentary is extraordinary. When I realized that Alex Gibney was the writer and director, I wasn’t surprised as another one of his epic documentaries is Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Then I saw that Jeffrey Skoll was an executive director and knew it was going to be worth watching in its entirety.
I convinced Amy to make it our Sunday night movie. She graciously accepted to watch a nerd documentary instead of a french film with english subtitles. While I was prepared to compromise on an action adventure movie with lots of explosions and car chases, we settled in for a documentary that we expected would rattle us both.
Amy was still talking to me about it thirty minutes after we had crawled into bed. It was that good – there was so much to it that we just couldn’t get it out of our minds. Ultimately, the specific Stuxnet activity was just a backdrop to something much more significant, and the second order effects are the ones that are really uncomfortable and important to understand.
Last night after a long day I turned on the TV to watch a little of the RNC just to be able to say I saw it live. T.A. McCann, who is staying with me at my place in Boulder for a few days, showed up about fifteen minutes later and begged me to turn it off. So I did. When I compare the reality TV bullshittery of the RNC to something like Zero Days, I’m so glad there are serious people in the world making extraordinary documentaries that go deep on real issues.