Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    May 23, 2013
    100
    The vastly divergent paths of Assange and Manning make up the most fascinating aspects of this relentlessly compelling film.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 24, 2013
    91
    The results are far more exciting than most Hollywood espionage thrillers.
  3. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    May 22, 2013
    91
    Despite a lack of access to Manning and Assange, We Steal Secrets is a vital document of a pivotal moment in world history that we’re still experiencing as we speak.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    May 23, 2013
    90
    Make no mistake, "We Steal Secrets" is a sprawling, ambitious, major work — a gripping exploration of power, personality, technology and the crushing weight that can come to bear on those who find themselves in its combined path.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jun 7, 2013
    88
    It's complicated. And it's fascinating.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    May 23, 2013
    85
    Even the movie's title, or rather the source of it, is a surprise. Not to spoil the fun, but it's neither Assange nor one of his allies who nonchalantly acknowledges that "we steal secrets."
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Jul 18, 2013
    80
    There are no shattering revelations here – if Gibney’s canny gathering of various narratives, shimmering score and cool graphics give his film the goose-pimply intrigue of a spy thriller, it just happens to be one you’ve already seen. It’s also one in which the subplot, if anything, takes over from the main plot.
  8. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Jul 12, 2013
    80
    Events are still unfolding, so this is a snapshot in time, but Gibney’s conscientious, revealing document proves a mine of valuable information and affecting emotional insights.
  9. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    Jul 8, 2013
    80
    Alex Gibney adds to his forensic examinations of Enron and Abu Ghraib with another fine documentary. Undeterred by grey areas or the hostility of his subject, the filmmaker tackles one of the stories of our times with dynamism and smarts.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jun 6, 2013
    80
    We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is at once an awkward mingling of two complex life stories and a gripping, necessary look at how information is gathered, shared and, yes, stolen.
  11. 80
    By the time this twisty, probing, altogether enthralling movie hits its final notes, the crimes against the Constitution and humanity have been upstaged by personal demons. Which is our woe as well.
  12. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Mar 21, 2013
    80
    Unfolding like an espionage thriller but with a methodical journalistic skill at organizing a mountain of facts, the film raises stimulating questions about transparency and freedom of information in a world in which governments and corporations have plenty to hide.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 6, 2013
    75
    Gibney is as dramatic a storyteller as the Hollywood directors with whom he competes for our attention, and he employs a big bag of tricks.
  14. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    May 23, 2013
    75
    Despite Gibney’s best efforts to put a halo on Manning, the enormity of what the soldier did towers over what has been done to him.
  15. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    May 22, 2013
    75
    Truthfully, Assange’s absence from We Steal Secrets—regardless of the reasons for it—is a major liability, and not just because it prevents Gibney from truly engaging with his headline-grabbing subject. Without a strong personality at its center, the film often feels unbalanced, lurching awkwardly between basic infotainment concerns and a sharper, more specific agenda.
  16. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    May 23, 2013
    60
    For all its faults, “We Steal Secrets” reminds us that despite the potential of WikiLeaks, its project of truth and consequences remains treacherous and complicated in practice.
  17. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    May 21, 2013
    60
    Gibney, a prolific and skilled documentarian, marshals and organizes a raft of information as deftly as anyone could wish. But his conclusions are murkier than they might be.
  18. Reviewed by: David Fear
    May 21, 2013
    60
    You’ll leave knowing slightly more about the who, what and why of WikiLeaks; you’ll also wish the whole shebang didn’t fell like such a tone-deaf data dump overall.
  19. Reviewed by: Jeremy Kay
    Mar 21, 2013
    60
    The latest documentary to roll out of the Alex Gibney factory looks at the life and times of the crusading website and explores related themes such as freedom of information and the moral responsibility of activism, but is far less illuminating about its silver-haired standard-bearer.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Mar 21, 2013
    60
    The conflict at the core of the WikiLeaks saga is dramatically lacking.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Jun 12, 2013
    6
    A good, but flawed documentary. Had it examined the ego of Julian Assange in more depth, which clearly drives the man to follow through with his own vision, no matter what trail of human destruction he leaves in his path. Since a lot of the events covered received widespread media coverage, viewers may be desensitized by the shocking details documented. Overall, a good watch, but ultimately a case of what could have been. Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2013
    2
    Wow a poor glimpse one of the bravest actions by any 2 people in the history of the world. Yes they are flawed people, but interviewing all the bitter former employees and presenting zero positive views is pathetic. Full Review »
  3. Sep 10, 2013
    4
    A piece of documentary film making can pick its topic and We Steal Secrets has picked WikiLeaks as its topic or so I thought when I started watching. What it really is, is a documentary about the perfect storm of Julian Assange despite the inherent promise in the title to tell the story of WikiLeaks. When Julian Assange and the men and women behind WikiLeaks brought down the Icelandic banks, people took notice and as Assange's leaks got more and more severe the nature of the information game changed, some say forever, others agree that this radical movement will fade. While Assange is a worthy topic of debate and discussion all We Steal Secrets seems to do is obfuscate the filed of view so much that its hard to interpret quite what happened during Assange's short and harmful time in the public eye. The story tries to keep you hooked but the story is shown from so many sides with differing accounts that you lose the plot in the swarm of information and half truths. The film tries not to depict him as a saint by showing the lives he has inadvertently ruined but it does try to justify his actions by painting him as a maverick, even going so far as to show Assange celebrating by dancing to Lady Gaga in a nightclub. It's a surreal image that will stick with you as the film nonchalantly glosses over certain aspects to try and maintain the delusional idea that WikiLeaks is a website of journalistic integrity despite Assange's bizarre actions towards the end of the film. Ultimately its WikiLeaks without any of the specifics as it concentrates on an interesting yet thoroughly corruptable person who in the end was exactly the person everyone thought he would turn out to be. Full Review »