Filmed over six years, Laura Poitras' follow-up to her Oscar winning Citizenfour, is an arresting portrait of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"I can't believe what he [Assange] allows me to film," Poitras says at the beginning of her documentary. Risk premiered at Cannes last year, but Poitras has since updated her account of WikiLeaks' activities to include the 2016 US presidential campaign. She records the outspoken Assange discussing Sweden's extradition efforts with his QC, chatting to Lady Gaga and taking a call from his mum in Australia. Poitras' access is unprecedented, but is Assange performing for her camera in the same way he plays to the international media? The director's relationship with Assange seems beyond awkward and media reports have hinted at a falling out. This uneasiness, however, makes for undeniably intriguing viewing.
It's impossible to divorce the viewing experience from the knowledge of how much risk [Poitras] herself has taken to produce it, which only adds to the exigency of her film. – Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist
A searing portrait of Assange as a man pitted against his cause, an egomaniacal advocate who may or may not care about the ramifications of his work. Like much of the world, Poitras is still figuring that one out, and it's sobering to find that no amount of first-rate access gets her closer to the complete truth. We're right there with her, studying Assange as he works with his ragtag team and defends his actions, almost always with mixed results. – Eric Kohn, Indiewire