Zero Days

Critics Consensus

Factors beyond Gibney's control prevent Zero Days from offering a comprehensive look at its subject, but the partial picture that emerges remains as frightening as it is impossible to ignore.



Total Count: 70


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,213
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Movie Info

A documentary thriller about the world of cyberwar. For the first time, the film tells the complete story of Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware (known as a "worm" for its ability to burrow from computer to computer on its own) that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target. This is the most comprehensive accounting to date of how a clandestine mission hatched by two allies with clashing agendas opened forever the Pandora's Box of cyberwarfare.

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Critic Reviews for Zero Days

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (21)

  • This documentary might be better titled Day Zero, because it features a doomsday scenario in which cyberwarfare shuts down the electricity grids and other networks of entire countries, using computer malware.

    Jan 5, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Gibney's movies are professional and solidly executed, informative if you go in underinformed but rarely surprising or aesthetically noteworthy.

    Jul 8, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Sam Adams

    Top Critic
  • Zero Days is ... under attack from little stylistic worms that threaten to turn an otherwise solid doc on the evil that 21st-century hackers do into a hack job.

    Jul 8, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Since no terrorist group or nation state has ever claimed credit for Stuxnet, Gibney can only hypothesize about its origins, but he makes an alarmingly lucid (if circumstantial) case for the culpability of the United States and Israel.

    Jul 8, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Don't be distracted by the ominous score, the layered displays of code, the juxtaposition of bursting balloon and mushrooming cloud; that's just (alarm) bells and whistles.

    Jul 8, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • By necessity, far more questions than answers are raised in Zero Days. All of the questions and answers are troubling.

    Jul 8, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Zero Days

  • Jul 08, 2016
    Documentaries are rarely my cup of tea, considering that many are made about irrelevant or quirky subjects that only serve as an excuse for a filmmaker to dilute an already murky plethora of more deserving feature productions. "Zero Days" serves as an essential and elucidating exception to this trend, and as much as it uncovers, it is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the subject of cyber crime and espionage. Focusing primarily on the Stuxnet virus (codename: Olympic Games), a malicious code crafted by none other than our National Security Agency and unleashed on the Iranian nuclear energy program by our Israeli buddies Mossad, Alex Gibney takes us on a digi-stylized tour up the tight-lipped echelons of the CIA, NSA, and office of the POTUS. Many of the interviewees invoke the almighty "it's classified" response to a system that has next to zero oversight and is held to little accountability. A program designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear centrifuges that started during the Bush administration and was fostered under Obama's direction led to the rise of Iran's cyber army and an even greater threat to our national security than what the program was intended to deter. One of the scariest take-away lessons from this is that until we acknowledge the white elephant of cyber warfare, the globe is on the edge of another threat to international peace on the level of mutually assured nuclear annihilation. The documentary does drag in places, and there is some ambiguity as to the breadth of who can and can't do anything about the problem, but the ramifications of the Natanz event are made explicitly clear by the whistle-blowers and implicitly daunting in the silence of our own leaders. Don't you feel safe?
    K Nife C Super Reviewer

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