Michael Mann’s pulpy cybercrime thriller Blackhat, which opens today, has received plenty of pre-emptive criticism for casting the beefy Chris Hemsworth as a world-class hacker—despite the fact that Hemsworth’s character, Nick Hathaway, is largely modeled on Stephen Watt, the Norse-god-looking software engineer who stole $200 million from bank cards in the late 2000s.
Mann’s specialty is telling archetypal genre stories steeped in unconventional real-world detail, something that goes back to his first feature, Thief, a “one last score” movie in which safe-crackers pry vaults open with heavy-duty industrial equipment, much of which was loaned to Mann by real-life thieves. Wired’s article “Is Blackhat the Greatest Hacking Movie Ever? Hackers Think So” has a fairly thorough rundown of all the things Mann’s new movie gets right and wrong about cybersecurity—including plenty of details that might seem unrealistic to the average viewer, but are founded on fact.
Those interested in reading a bit more should check out “The Tech Changes, but Not the Crime,” the profile that ran last month in The New York Times—which, like The A.V. Club, is in the pro camp on this unsurprisingly polarizing movie.