Following his documentary on the impact Napster and downloading had on the music industry, actor-turned-documenatary filmmaker Alex Winter changes focus to the rise of a new internet, one that lives in the shadows.
Exploring the decentralised, non-indexed deepnet, only available through anonymising software, Tor, Winter looks specifically at the black market bazaar Silk Road and the curious case of its founder, Ross Ulbricht.
A fascinating exploration into a world so many don’t even know exists, Deep Web is utterly captivating, not dumbing down the content yet making it accessible for a wider audience. With Ross recently found guilty of starting the illegal online marketplace, Silk Road, as well as being accused of several murders, the film highlights a injustice in the case amid a court apparently hell bent on finding a conviction at all costs. With a judge repeatedly blocking the defence’s motions to introduce documents including the FBI’s own reports as evidence, Deep Web tells story with a heavy slant on Ross’ side.
Deep Web is a brilliant film from Alex Winter, and while there are obvious injustices in the Silk Road case, Deep Web fails to examine both sides like a true documentary really should. We learn little of the FBI’s view of the case and Ross Ulbricht’s darker side which has been highlighted in other stories. Asking Winter’s Bill & Ted co-star, Reanu Reeves, to narrate is a total misstep as well.
All in all, Deep Web does pull through. Director Alex Winter does a great job of delving into the underworld of the internet and the intrica cies of the Silk Road case, it’s just a shame it’s not a more rounded view, as you can’t help but feel there’s another side to the case you’re not being told about.