Kickstarting a movie that realistically portrays hackers

David sez, "We all hate seeing the way computers are depicted in TV shows and movies. Magic boxes that can do the impossible and it only gets less realistic when the subject turns to hacking. There is though one upcoming movie that aims to tackle this subject with realism and while telling a damn interesting story.. it's The Root Kit and it is on Kickstarter right now. With less than 3 days left to succeed."

The Root Kit (Thanks, David!)


  1. If you read this kickstarter video like an audition tape, there isn’t much in the way of performance going on. 

    “These aren’t studio executives”

  2. Seeing at least a portion of a script would go a long way toward making it seem viable… even just the first 10 pages. If there’s anything available there or on his own web site I can’t seem to find it.

    1. Jim, if you click on “Updates” at the top of the kickstarter page of, you can read the first 7 pages of the script (Update #11).  You can also see an interview with Larry Wall (creator of Perl), character interviews, and other stuff.

    2. Jim, I posted the first 7 pages, for just such an occasion. They’ll be online until the campaign ends, Friday 11:59p Pacific. Here’s the link to the script pages:

      1. Excellent. They look good… if those characters weave together in a tight narrative you’ll have a great story. Drop a loaded gun on stage and a MacGuffin in a briefcase and you’ll have a hit.

      2. alright, not too terrible. I’ve got a few quibbles about some of your semantics here, but they’re nit-picking. From the clip and these pages, I’m getting good feelings about the overall sense of pacing and presentation here (hey, I can be a infosec guy AND a film buff, right?). All in all, I’d say you’ve got a fine line to walk in not falling into “this stuff is magic” that other people do (either that it’s supremely easy, or all-powerful – when believe me, it’s very much in the middle, like most things are), but I think you’ve taken the right approach.

        Please have at least one person in rollerblades for us to laugh at however. Also, you’re behind the time, you should have named it “The Advanced Persistent Threat”, since that’s where all the marketing money is at these days :)

  3. Like the idea but that video is its own worst enemy. Plodding, pretentious, and if I can’t stand the acting in a five minute clip, why would I want a whole movie? 

    “These aren’t studio executives.” Indeed.

  4. I applaud this effort, but I’ma put this out there anyways: Hackers, whilst it doesn’t accurately portray hacker culture, is an amazingly fun piece of film-making. You’ve just gotta suspend your disbelief over that massive chasm and DROP it.

    The soundtrack alone is hard to beat for films lacking an original score.

      1. Yes! War Games is absolutely fantastic. I think the only thing that could improve it would be a cut with a soundtrack primarily consisting of The Prodigy and some montage sequences.

    1. I’ve said on many occasions to incredulous listeners that Hackers is an incredibly accurate documentary ….of how big our egos were back in the 90’s. (of course, the generation of kids that has replaced us is no different now)

  5. I’m struggling with why this particular director and script are right for this subject. Sure, he’s got some video production chops, but where’s the expertise coming from? He’s not done that great a job of presenting a compelling case. 

      1. A system admin and a language creator don’t strike me as ‘security consultants’. I mean, I like these guys, but I can name 50 people off the top of my head who you’d be better off talking to. Since your intro vid spends so much time making broad claims about mobile device security, that’s where I’d start.  Come and attend a BSides ( and meet some of us.

  6. Realistic? Who would watch a movie about 20 minutes on the phone to a customer service agent and then someone typing in a password?

    1. This sounds a lot like saying nobody would want to watch a “realistic” cop show, because it’d be boring. And if you do think that’s true, you probably haven’t seen The Wire.

      1. Or as many firemen have said, that a realistic movie about interior rescues would be impossible because the most intense action happens almost completely blinded and deafened by the inferno.

      2. I have seen The Wire. Where have I said realism is always boring? I’ve said hacking more than likely is.

  7. spending nearly 50% of the clip re-introducing us to The Cave seemed like a huge waste of time. We get it, you’ve seen The Matrix. Neither does pinging localhost in a green font scream “we know what we’re talking about”

    1.  I interviewed Jonathan about this film, watched the interviews on the site, and read the first part of the script.  He does indeed know what he’s talking about, in large part because he’s been so willing do research, seek advice, and accept feedback from experts in computer security and hackerfolk in general.
      Perhaps the video above didn’t catch your eye, but I highly recommend taking a look at the interviews and the first seven pages of screenplay in the updates section.  Those were what really convinced me this was worth a deeper look.

      1. already did (see comments further up). FWIW, I’m backing it, and fingers crossed we in the infosec community end up liking it. Rough around the edges but I think the core method has potential. My worry is that if you’re pitching ‘realism’ then  attention to detail is king.

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