'Hackers' (1995) - Movie Review

Updated on August 5, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

Every human being that calls himself a cinephile must have and value ​​some guilty pleasures that must be defended swiftly.

Yes, these movies are objectively corny, ridiculous, absurd and sometimes directly preposterous and outrageous in their treatment of reality and suspension of disbelief. But these movies, with all their flaws (or more like thanks to them), transmit a unique and unrepeatable message that makes them have a crushing personality that few cultural products achieve.

Hackers is one of those movies. Written by Rafael Moreu and directed by Iain Softley, this 1995 film attempted to reduce an unstoppable new communication paradigm in an adolescent sub-culture trend, failing miserably in its attempt.

Hackers seem to be the product of someone with an overwhelming ignorance (due to a generational gap, lack of academic knowledge or both) about the exponential technological jump of personal computers and the internet. It's like this script inner spirit was a 70-year-old lady saying something like "Here they go, those thugs with bizarre clothes, piercings, and silly hairstyles, shoved on their computers for hours, doing who knows what."

But it was precisely that failure that ended up transforming Hackers into an essential film to understand the 90s and what would come next. It's a masterful and spectacular collection of clichés, details, and actions of a reality that, although it never really happened, became the desired utopia for a whole generation.

Hackers is Cyberpunk through the glass of the mid 90's rave culture and high school comedy. It begins basically as the story of the mysterious new kid trying to fit into his new school.

In Hackers, all characters have glorious 90's nicknames. "Crash Override" (Jonny Lee Miller) is the prodigy new-guy-in-town hacker. "Acid Burn" (An Angelina Jolie in Manic Pixie Dream Girl mode), is his love interest/friendly competition. The rest of the hacker gang is composed by "Cereal Killer" (Matthew Lillard), "The Phantom Phreak" (Renoly Santiago), "Lord Nikon" (Laurence Mason) and Joey (Jesse Bradford), the novice one, who is in search of his nickname. You know, the important things.

Of course, the school gang will strengthen their friendship when, after a series of turns and actions, they’ll have to face a multinational corporation, NYPD, a villainous hacker called "The Plague" (Fisher Stevens) and basically the whole system by using viruses, worms and a lot of rollerblading through the streets of New York.

Hackers have an extremely over-the-top techno music video aesthetic, to the point that in order to cover its entire soundtrack it took three different albums to be released. Led by Leftfield, Prodigy, Orbital and Underworld, the music by itself pays the admission.

This gem is full of technological inaccuracies, wonderful hairstyles and costumes, PS1's Wipeout, 31/2 color diskettes and a great cast that tried (and in the mid 90's that's greatly appreciated) to have racial diversity.

Hackers is, without a doubt, the purest and most naive anti-system rebellion flick in recent memory. And it's a treat because of that. It's an unreal time capsule that appeals to our deepest nostalgia.

Checkout our hacker movies list if you can't get enough of these kinds of films. It covers realistic portrayals of this theme and science fiction classics like The Matrix.

Movie Details

Title: Hackers

Release Year: 1995

Director(s): Iain Softley

Actors: Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, Jesse Bradford a.o.

3 stars for Hackers (Nostalgia Rating)

© 2019 Sam Shepards


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