DEFCON: The Documentary

Rating: 8/10

I have enjoyed all of Jason Scott’s documentaries. His films tend to be about somewhat niche areas in computing and how those technologies affected the people who use(d) them. This one is about the DEFCON hacking convention. There’s a little bit of history about the convention, but mostly it is interviews with attendees and organizers about what it is they like so much about the gathering. To me, I felt like about quarter of the movie could be interchanged with any film about a group of people with similar interests meeting up in Las Vegas. I’m sure attendees at a shower curtain rod convention would tell you about how shower curtain people are the friendliest of people and how you can just strike a conversation with any other attendee… oh, and the parties are just awesome. No one parties like a shower curtain rod sales professional.

But this all can be forgiven because I think this film is directed more towards people who actually participated in the event. I am sure they will get a kick out of all the nostalgia and reminiscing. The other three-quarters document the various events that take place during the conference. These are the things that make DEFCON unique: stuff like cryptology contests, badge hacking, lock-picking, weird gizmos and, of course, the controversial speakers. A former co-worker of mine from when I was working as an office temp in Bloomington, Ill. makes an appearance. He goes by the name “V1ru5” here and he probably doesn’t remember me, but he was the guy who actually told me what DEFCON was back in 1999 and offered advice when I was contemplating going to the Game Developer’s Conference that year. Anyhow, I’d recommend this documentary to anyone who has a greater than normal interest in technology and wha-do-ya-know, you can watch it on Vimeo for free.

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