I caught Sneakers, Phil Alden Robinson’s 1992 film with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and President Laura Roslin last night. It was tempting to add the word “classic” in there, but I’m not sure that’s an accurate description. And yet, Sneakers might be my favorite movie I don’t own. Sure, some of the scenery is kind of dumb — crypto doesn’t work that way, of course — but it’s shocking to see that a movie about a group of nerds being, well, nerds managed to get the “nerd” part so right.
What struck me about the film last night is how well it has aged — it’s old enough to vote this year, and yet, it feels like it could have been made yesterday. One does not even need to look solely at the broad strokes of the plot in order to draw that conclusion: though some of the specific technology dated rather badly, if anything the details of the plot are somehow more meaningful today than they were in the early 1990s. A film about the importance of privacy in our lives, with large number theory and cryptography as a major plot point, capped off with a tacit admission that the United States government is spying on American citizens without their knowledge?
Ripped from tomorrow’s headlines… today!