Deep Web


Action / Documentary


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April 22, 2016 at 11:43 AM



Keanu Reeves as Narration
720p 1080p
624.13 MB
25 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 9 / 82
1.3 GB
25 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 12 / 56

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 7 / 10

Silk Road uncovered

Greetings again from the darkness. Even those of us who consistently obey the law have a general idea of how criminals work: robbing banks, stealing cars, kidnapping people, even hacking websites for personal information. Additionally, the vast majority of us have at least a rudimentary understanding of how the internet works, and the steps we take to increase security. Documentarian Alex Winter combines these two topics as he takes us inside the deep web … specifically Silk Road on the Darknet.

The Surface Web vs The Deep Web - the film exposes what most of us have very little knowledge of. The simple explanation is that the "surface web" is what we use on a daily basis: Facebook postings photos of our latest meal and YouTube video sensations showing cats fighting their mirrored reflection. The Deep Web is what lies beneath. This is the (mostly) untraceable technology where the underground marketplace site known as Silk Road exists. To be clear, most of the ongoings on the deep web are legitimate and in good faith – used frequently by journalists. However, the other side is how it obtained the nickname "ebay for Heroin". Yep, untraceable transactions for illegal drugs definitely happened (and still do). It turns out that Bitcoin is the ideal underground currency for this commerce, as it can be as untraceable as the drug orders.

You might recognize the name of director Alex Winter as half of the classic movie duo in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). Mr. Winter released a documentary a couple years ago entitled Downloaded, where he explored the rise and fall of Napster and the effects of downloaded music. This current topic is much more dangerous and secretive, and he wisely brings along his old buddy Keanu Reeves as the narrator. Winter's approach here is initially a bit confusing, as the focus seems uncertain – is it a tell all about the deep web, or is it a profile of Silk Road, or is it an analysis of the arrest and subsequent trial of possible Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht? Most of the attention goes to Ulbricht, better known as the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), a pseudonym snatched from the classic movie The Princess Bride. Is/Was Ulbricht the DPR? Winter is content to leave that mystery unsolved, but the real story here is how the government put the case together against Ulbricht – fabricating charges (later dropped), circumstantial evidence, and a probable breach of privacy.

The general belief is that we should have a free and open and secure internet, though most of us never stop to think what a ludicrous demand that really is. It's the lack of privacy and ease of breach on the surface web that led to the development of the deep web – an anonymous and mostly secure environment. At least it was until the government went hard after Silk Road. Shutting down the non-violent drug transactions justified the law enforcement and political attention that the drug wars along the border never have. Is this a good thing? Is Ulbricht the DPR? Does it matter that after his arrest, his void was quickly filled by other opportunists? Do you believe you are secure on the web? Winter presents an exceptional amount of information that deserves even more discussion and explanation. That alone makes it time well spent.

Reviewed by wleongittens-1 8 / 10

The Government vs Ross Ulbricht

As someone who is very interested in current events, politics and world history, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not know anything about Silk Road or had even followed the trial of Ross Ulbricht.

Yes, I did read the headlines announcing the verdict but it was only after watching this fine documentary did I learn about the trial and the issues surrounding Silk Road and the charges against Mr. Ulbricht.

The "facts" are placed in context and many questions remain but what is presented in this film should be seen by all Americans and people seeking justice. This film is a must see even if it's only to get your footing on where Internet technology is heading and the dangers that lurk out there for all of us.

Again, this is a "must see film" and I implored everyone take the time to view this film.

Reviewed by SteveMierzejewski 8 / 10

The Deeper Web

As I write about cybercrime and cyber security, I took a special interest in this film. It is far different from the usual fare. In the usual cybercrime movie, there is always the scene where the hacker-hero sits down at a keyboard, begins typing frantically away, then turns to his eagerly awaiting colleagues and says something like, "okay, we're into the Pentagon's computer network". If only life were so easy. The movie may be good in other aspects, but the hacking scenes don't usually hold up.

Documentaries on cybercrime are a bit different. Some of them are quite good, though they often come with an angle. By this I mean that they are not really trying to be objective, they are trying to make a case. In The Deep Web, it is clear early on that Alex Winter has an angle. The angle is that the deep web, the Silk Road, and Ross Ulbricht have provided a valid, honest service that does not undercut social values and, in fact, may have re-invigorated them. On the surface, this might seem like a difficult case to prove, but, to his credit, Winter does a remarkable job.

Winter portrays the deep web as a new cyber nation where anonymity, freedom, and relief from the burden of government surveillance can thrive. It is, or can be, the true libertarian utopia. Although the film is hyped as being narrated by Keanu Reeves, he actually has a limited role. This is more of a marketing ploy than anything. In fact, a significant part of the film is carried by "consultant producer" and Wired magazine writer, Andy Greenberg. Greenberg was the first person to actually interview Ulbricht when he was only known as Dread Pirate Roberts. He believes that Ulbricht was sincere in his libertarian philosophy and truly felt that an open drug market would reduce the violence that was connected to illegal drug use. You'll have to decide for yourself if Greenberg and Winter makes a good case for Ulbricht or not.

Winter does try to balance his pro-Ulbricht stance with interviews of various law enforcement officers connected to the case. There is some good and somewhat rare footage here of interviews with Ulbricht's lawyer, Joshua Dratal, Ulbricht's parents, and some of Ulbricht's friends and admirers. There are even some home movies of Ulbricht himself that show he was more than just a drug dealer looking to make quick money. The one interview lacking is the one of Ulbricht himself.

The crux of the film, at least for me, was the insinuation that Ulbricht received, to put it lightly, something less than a fair trial. He makes you wonder about two key points: the objectivity and competence of Judge Forrest and whether or not Ulbricht was railroaded. At times, Winter makes you wonder if there was not some sort of collusion between the prosecution and the judge; they just seemed to work so well together. Again, you can decide this for yourself.

If there is one weak point in this documentary, it is trying to portray Ulbricht in too positive a light. I have read his Tor chats, even the ones he released after his sentencing to show that he was not only concerned about making money. From these alone, you can see that Ulbricht is not the aw shucks, golly gee, kid next door that Winter makes him seem to be. In short, like everyone, he has his positive and negative characteristics. That said, this is a good documentary and one that should be watched.

I would recommend The Deep Web to everyone, even those who do not know much about the deep web, Ulbricht, or cybercrime. Winter makes the viewer consider the basic values that have created America and whether they have been dismantled to build something other than a free society. It could be that the Ulbricht trial was the crucible in which these fundamental American values were put to the test. Overall, The Deep Web is a first-rate documentary. Go see it. It will certainly give you a lot to think about.

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