This is the story of Cody Wilson, deemed by Wired Magazine as one of the Most Dangerous People in the World in 2012 after he helped created a prinatable gun. The film follows Wilson over years as he faces his legal battle over whether or not code is covered under free speech or not.
Billed as an antidote to the short news stories news and shrill social media discourse that pump everything up to hot points and emotional knee jerk arguments, DEATH ATHLETIC is not quite the reasoned discourse it suggests it’s going to be. Announcing itself as being purely on the Right side of the argument with a gleeful discussion of baiting “Libertards” the film stumbles out of the block by instantly seeming to be a 100 minute position paper. While the film is very much a statement of Wilson and his friends and colleagues, it really isn’t a discussion.
I should at this point state that my feelings on the subject of ghost guns and the sharing of code is complicated. While part of me wants to simply state it’s a matter of free speech, how that effects the real world makes me want to at the very least discuss, limitations. The problem is that I don’t think there was ever any meaningful discussion by anyone on any side of the issue with the result that everyone seems to be on one side or the other.
I had hoped this film would be a bit more to the middle but it’s not the case.
On the plus side the film states very clearly the argument for not restricting code. If you ever wanted to have the position explained to you this film will do it.
Beyond the one sided nature of the discussion, how you react to the film is going to be determined how you react to Cody Wilson and the people fighting along side of him. I never warmed to him or most of the people in the film. Everyone was so intent on getting their point across that they never seemed to be people. At times everyone seems to be intent on doing what they are doing because it is a statement of “free speech” without thinking if they should. Everyone is living in their heads with and the notion of sticking it to the man instead of the real world discussion. It becomes tiring, even if you lean toward siding with them.
If you are one of the converted DEATH ATHLETIC is going to give you ammunition to carry on. If you are not the film is going to be tough slog