Wahlberg to star in ‘Arthur the King’
Thinking about finally getting off of Facebook? “The Great Hack”, a new documentary on Netflix, might just be the push you were looking for. At the very least, you’ll probably never take another online personality test. It’s meant to scare and influence you, and probably even for good reason – although it is a little ironic that the entire film is about how our personal data is being manipulated and turned into fear-mongering tactics.
Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, “The Great Hack” dives into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and why it matters. By relying mostly on news reports, many by journalist Carole Cadwalladr, and public testimony, the film might not be all that revelatory for anyone who followed the story and watched Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, however.
But you do get to spend a significant time with the former Cambridge Analytica insider-turned-whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, a young woman who was central in drawing up contracts with the Trump campaign and the right hand to the charismatic CEO Alexander Nix. She has since decided that she wants to regain a moral compass and speak to authorities – and this documentary crew – about what she knows and how her old colleagues are lying about their involvement in Brexit and other elections and what they’ve done with all the data they claimed to have deleted.
“The Great Hack” starts out with so much promise as David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons, starts to question where all this data that we all very willingly share is going. The narration is a little sentimental and dreamy.
“It began with a dream of a connected world,” Carroll says in voice-over. “Matchmaker, instant fact checker, guardian of our memories…but no one bothered to read the terms and conditions.”
Anyone with a pulse and an internet connection knows that of course every click, every search and every purchase is being stored, saved, sold and commoditized for companies who want to sell you more, and better. But he is the one who wondered how a UK data company had somehow gained enough information to brag that it had 5,000 data points on every US voter and could “predict the personality of every person in the United States” and then actually did something about it. He asked if he could see his voter profile. When Cambridge Analytica declined, it became a red alarm.
“The Great Hack” will help connect the dots between these names that many may only be passively aware of. It’s meant to alarm the public about how our data, our purchases, our likes and the “fun personality quizzes” we take are part of a digital footprint that tech companies are profiting off of and using to manipulate us.
But the film devolves into a referendum on the rise of Donald Trump and authoritarian governments around the world, while failing to examine the agency of the individual at the voting booth, or the idea that anything else might have been going on in the psyche of the country to lead to where we are now. No, according to “The Great Hack”, the “crooked Hillary” memes get most of the credit for pushing those Facebook users that Cambridge Analytica deemed to be “persuadable” to vote for the candidate who was paying them.
In this, it seems wholly targeted toward one segment of the population, the ones whose minds are made up about why Trump won, and alienating to the other. It’s also an oddly confusing watch. Many of the talking heads start to blur together and the filmmakers don’t help in reminding the viewer who they’re listening to. Thankfully, on Netflix you’re able to rewind.
These are interesting and fraught times that deserve an unflinching look at the perils of data rights and online privacy, but “The Great Hack” is a reminder that documentaries are not always journalism. But perhaps this may just inspire someone to go read more from the outlets who broke and continue to follow the story, and maybe, eventually, make a great documentary about it.
“The Great Hack”, a Netflix release, is rated TV-MA. Running time: 114 minutes. Two stars out of four.
LOS ANGELES: Mark Wahlberg will star in the true-life canine adventure story “Arthur the King” for Paramount Players.
The project is based on the 2017 book “Arthur: The Dog who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home”, written by Mikael Lindnord, the captain of a Swedish adventure racing team. Lindnord met the wounded stray dog during a 400-mile race through the Ecuadoran jungles, first by throwing him a meatball, which led the dog to follow the team through some of the toughest terrain on the planet. He decided to adopt the dog and bring him back to Sweden.
Wahlberg will portray Lindnor, who will also executive produce. No director is attached. The script has been written by Michael Brandt, whose credits include “3:10 to Yuma” and “Wanted”.
Producers are Mark Canton, Tucker Tooley, Courtney Solomon and Tessa Tooley. Executive producers are Dorothy Canton, Brandt and Lindnord.
Wahlberg starred in Paramount’s two “Daddy’s Home” movies, which were solid performers with the first taking in $242 million worldwide and the sequel grossing $180 million. He starred with Rose Byrne in the 2018 comedy “Instant Family”, which grossed $120 million worldwide.
Wahlberg is also starring in Netflix’s upcoming “Wonderland”, a mystery directed by Peter Berg and written by Sean O’Keefe, based on the novel of same name by Ace Atkins. He recently wrapped shooting the independent drama “Good Joe Bell”, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green with Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins, and Gary Sinise also starring.
Wahlberg is repped by WME, Leverage Management and Sloane Offer. His casting was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. (Agencies)
By Lindsey Bahr