From directors Scott Glosserman and Nic Hill comes the documentary about Wikipedia, its founder Jimmy Wale and its global impact. Sounds like a lot to put in to one movie, but the film manages to make good use of its 85 minute running time.
The film begins with Wale on a trip to India. He is visiting schools and Internet cafes looking to see who knows about Wikipedia. After that, we’re treated to an explanation of just how editing a Wikipedia article works. As someone who had no idea about the process, I found that part interesting, although your mileage may vary. The film goes on to talk about Jimmy Wale’s life in between talking about the website itself.
The portrayal of Wale varies a lot throughout the documentary. Sometimes he sounds like an idealist who truly believes in sending out information to every person on the planet. Other times, for example when he specifically says that he would allow ads on Wikipedia if he was offered enough money, not so much.
In the end, I came out of the theater thinking of him as a three-dimensional figure, very much a man with passion but neither completely good or evil. To be honest, this is very important in a film like this and is a definite plus for the movie.
That being said, some of the shots of Wale at home dragged on a little and could have probably been cut. They did not add much to the documentary and seemed to be there just to show him around his house.
It’s not all about Wale, though. One of the things I really appreciated about this film is that it delves into both the criticisms that have been lobbed at Wikipedia as well as into the lives of the people who edit and contribute to it frequently. This adds balance to the film, as otherwise it would basically be a love letter to Wale.
Overall, the movie raises very good questions about Wikipedia and its impact on the world. Can Wikipedia ever truly become a reliable source for information? Does Wale have the qualifications to decide what stays on the website? And is the site even a good thing in the grand scheme of things?
The movie does not preach to the audience or give them an answer, but it does give a good representation of both sides of the argument and leaves it to the viewer.
This is definitely a solid film. The camera work and soundtrack is good, and the editing, while choppy during one of the last interview shots, is well done. It presents the history of Wikipedia in an interesting light.
This film is definitely worth a viewing. It’s interesting, well made, and presents varied perspectives on Wikipedia that help the narrative stay interesting.Contact Carlos Serrano.