The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Waiting for Intermission: Review of Blackhat


Set in the developing world of cyber terrorism, “Blackhat” starts out with a nuclear plant explosion in China. In America, not long after, the Mercantile Trade Exchange gets hacked. With the only leading evidence fried in the heart of the nuclear plant, Chinese and American agents collaborate to bring incarcerated cyber criminal Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) to the game.

What reason do they have to take the convict out of prison? To get inside the mind of the criminal they’re trying to take down. However, even with the watchful eyes of the FBI guards and his shiny ankle bracelet accessory, would you trust Hathaway to do the right thing if you give the unlawful genius your computer?

As the film progresses, there’s no clear reason as to why Hathaway is there, or what he had done to be thrown into the American slammer in the first place.

During a quiet conversation, Hathaway states that he did a little hacking, but no one explains what exactly he was hacking. As for why he was brought to the FBI’s attention in the first place, was it because he was friends, roommates, and brothers-in-computer-arms with Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), a military officer of China’s cyber warfare unit?

Later on in the film, it seems as if the reason for Hathaway to stay with the project is for Dawai’s sister, Chen Lien (Tang Wei). Why would Hathaway risk his life to help America and China defend themselves from a faceless yet powerful villain?

Somewhat obviously, Hathaway makes a deal with his American captors: if he gets the cyber terrorist, he goes free. Yet there’s no explanation as to why Hathaway isn’t already allowed to walk the streets a free man. After some tension between the FBI agents, the young military officer, and his sister, the FBI reluctantly agree that Hathaway is an asset, and ultimately, they let him run the show. Traveling from America to China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the plot seems to make more sense as more and more people keep dying.

Even with the unsteady camera shots and the (nauseating) movements of cuts, I enjoyed the film. The character introductions and backstories left me wanting to know more about the people I should care about in the film, but I felt that I could focus more on why the characters were together.

The love connection between Hathaway and Chen Lien was a little obvious to me, but it didn’t detract from the main point of the film. The plot kept me guessing–not about what was going to happen next, but why. Why were the antagonists killing people and destroying governments? And, unlike most action films I’ve seen, I didn’t know the real villain of the story until the very end. Straight to the action and slow to the point, I feel that the film “Blackhat,” directed by Michael Mann, is a good film to watch more than once.

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