[Content Warning: Contains descriptions of sexual and physical violence against women]
[There will also be extensive spoilers]
During the evening events for the so far amazing Kiwicon, there was a screening of a recently released indie film called Reboot. Some people may be aware of it as being a successfully crowd-funded project through Kickstarter.
On paper it sounds great, a "real" hacker film promising to be technically accurate and relevant to today's world with a woman as a main character. Unfortunately in practice it shows itself to be deeply problematic, reflecting the worst parts of the male dominated hacker scene.
As I pointed out on twitter, shortly after finishing the movie, there are more scenes of sexual and physical violence against women than there are of any characters writing any code in the 40 minute screen time. This was supposed to point out how much of a bad person the antagonist supposedly was but came off as a really bad attempt to be "edgy" and "dark" and completely alienated the women in the audience.
We already knew the antagonist was bad when it was revealed early on that his motivation was to create uncontrolled anarchy in society. There was no need for the off camera rape scene. The scene in which the girl violated in the aforementioned scene was violated further with her private, sexually explicit images being posted online as she is forced to watch tied to a chair. The scene in which the protagonist has her head violently smashed into a diner table into scalding hot coffee.
The worst thing that happened to a man in all this was his newspaper was stolen as the antagonist walked out of the diner. This disproportionate violence against the women characters as compared to the men is worrying.
The antagonist theoretically gets his dues when he is beaten with a baseball bat by the protagonist but then his plan succeeds anyway and the film ends with the world being plunged into darkness, leaving us to assume that uncontrolled anarchy will follow and that the characters in the film will further suffer at the hands of the ensuing chaos.
This is an extremely poorly conceived film and it joins a growing trend of films using sexual and physical violence against minorities to appear "edgy" and to shock audiences. There seems little point to the film in the end other than the shock factor, with seemingly no moral message or even a satisfying resolution. The dialogue is confusing and disjointed, the technical aspects inaccurate and shows a completely privileged, strawman perspective on anarchism.