Title: The New Radical

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Documentary

Language: English

Runtime: 109 min

Director: Adam Bhala Lough

Writer: N/A

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6333062/

We live in a world where one simple idea can break the entire system as we know it. This documentary takes a look at Cody Wilson and his idea of 3D-printing guns, Amir Taaki and the bitcoin, and their many battles against the government.

Our thoughts:
We've all heard the questions that have been raised from the fact that you can "create" anything you can imagine, as long as you own a 3D printer. When Cody Wilson got the idea of creating blueprints of guns for the printers and released them on the internet, the entire world took notice. It raised questions of not only whether or not it should be against the law, but also if it's moral to do it. It spread across the news, and the government began to investigate it.

Even more known than 3D printed guns is the bitcoin. People often talk about how "if only they had invested early" and the amount of money they would have now, but not everyone thinks about the big problems that come with the bitcoins. What can be done with money that doesn't go through banks? What can be bought with money that's untraceable? As expected, this doesn't sit well with the higher powers.

"The New Radical" takes a look at these ideas, and more specifically the minds behind them. Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki are two very different personalities, but both could be considered anarchists of the modern era. The documentary shows us who these people are through interviews, news reports, and simply spending some time with them. They are just two guys that happened to come up with ways to do things their own way. Not having to go through the standard means to get weapons or transfer money. They spend every day of their lives defending their rights and their ideologies, going up against people that consider what they do to be acts of terrorism. I was happy to see that the documentary doesn't just take place in the US, but also in London with Amir. It manages to show different ways that these two individuals are treated and observed by the country's governments.

If you can print guns at home, so can your kids. If you can transfer money anonymously, then so can ISIS. At the same time, why should it be illegal to download information? And why should your money be tracked by anyone else than yourself? These are some polarizing questions. Personally I have known about both of these things and the "problems" around them, but I have never looked deeper into it. This documentary doesn't focus on where the ideas came from or what went into making them happen, which is something I would have wanted to see more of. It's more about Cody and Amir's struggles, often without actually raising too many questions for the viewer to answer. The documentary actually doesn't try to say much at all, and lets the people on screen do the talking. Depending on how you look at it, this is probably the best way to do it, but... considering that it's mainly from the point of view of Cody and Amir, it undeniably leans towards their side of things, right?

As someone who went into this documentary looking to get a more technical look at the "creations", and perhaps also hoping that it would raise some big questions on its own, I found myself struggling to stay focused. Yes, there is a ton to think about, and you will. It's extremely provocative no matter which side you are on, since it will make you think about it from both sides. Still, it often just shows what went on in their lives at different times. Purely as a documentation of events it's fine as it is. I believe I would have gotten more out of it had it tried to actively questioned stuff, and I absolutely believe that it would capture the interest of basically anyone that way too. Right now, it might just be a documentary for those that already stand strong on the sides of Cody and Amir.

Despite my issues with the documentary, "The New Radical" is well worth a watch. It highlights some important issues with how the internet is handled, both by users and the government. We are facing something huge in the internet's history right now as I write this, where things can take drastic turns, and this documentary shows ideas that the government wants to control. You don't need to pick side here, but it is documenting what the issue is.

The film will open theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on December 1st, followed by VOD on December 5th.

Positive things:
- It gives a good look into the lives of Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki.
- It releases in a time where we really need to think about these things.
Negative things:
- Unfortunately its documentation of events style gets a bit unfocused in its 2 hour runtime, despite feeling like it couldn't fit it all.
- I think due to the importance of the subject, it would have served it well to raise questions instead of acting as an impartial listener. Especially when it mostly listens to one side.

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