Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘The Face of Anonymous’

Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘The Face of Anonymous’

With his new documentary The Face of Anonymous, Lang tells the story of Commander X (aka Christopher Doyon), the infamous leader of online network of hacktivist group Anonymous. Doyon proudly takes credit for orchestrating political disruption and cyber attacks. Some of these movements include the Arab Spring and an attack of credit companies. He believes in his online cause of accountability. However, after he becomes hunted by the FBI, Doyon is forced to live his life off the grid, taking to the streets of Toronto and Mexico.

In Doyon, Lang has a truly fascinating subject to follow. Strangely charismatic, this self-proclaimed ‘Batman’ of the internet comes across as somewhat of a contradiction. Although operating in a world of anonymity and under threat of arrest, Doyon readily and openly speaks about his involvement in these major events. He even has an ‘I am Anonymous’ moment where he announces his presence to the world. (Although, admittedly, that sounds more like Iron Man than the Dark Knight…) At the same time, Doyon also comes across as a man who wants to live the simple life. With his exodus to Mexico, Doyon also seems to be someone who desperately wants to settle down and start over. (Or does he?)

Doyon’s story also provides Lang the opportunity to explore the ethics of internet activism. Anonymous alters the cultural landscape from their keyboards. And Lang highlights the fact that these rogue agents hold incredible power at a time when laws remain unclear. However, at the same time, there are also many who view them as holding big business and governments accountable. While Lang holds few answers, he does start asking the necessary questions for this next chapter of global communication and empowerment. He has a riveting subject through which he can get those conversations started.

Steve Norton
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Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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