Movies That Molded a Geek: Sneakers

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Sneakers is a movie about a ragtag group of “security experts,” guys who like breaking into places they shouldn’t.  There’s a former wanted man, a former CIA agent, a conspiracy theorist, a wacky young kid, and a blind sound guy – your typical crack team of experts.  This is no typical film, however, not when these characters are portrayed by actors like Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and Dan Aykroyd.

I distinctly remember the first time I saw this movie.  I was about ten years old, and my mother and I rented it.  Even though the movie was about computers, something I knew almost nothing about, I only got lost once, when I didn’t understand a joke.  Then my mother explained what the word “bastard” meant, and we moved on (those conversations popped up at the weirdest places).

I’m not really sure how to classify Sneakers.  I suppose it’s a thriller, but it could just as easily be called an action film, or even a comedy.  There’s even a smidge (a very small one) of romance involved.

At its root, movies about computers are not incredibly interesting unless they glam it up, usually with something that makes a person knowledgeable about computers roll their eyes (six monitors! oh noes!).  Sneakers, I think, walks the fine line between accurate and entertaining fairly well.

Sure, most of the technology in the movie is outdated or downright fictional,  but it’s enough to keep the plot moving without getting bogged down.  Also, even though we aren’t feeling the chill of the Cold War anymore, much of the film’s paranoia about computers and security mirrors what many fear even today.

It’s not as glamorous a film as Hackers would be a few years later; the cast isn’t young and hot, and watching this movie is more akin to curling up in front of a fire than driving a fast car.  But it’s an interesting movie with a stellar cast, and well worth picking up.

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