With Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Wood.
US, 1983, DCP, color, 114 min.
DCP source: Park Circus
Before the utopianism and consumerism of Silicon Valley, there were fears of the Military Industrial Complex and the Cold War, memorably documented in WarGames, in which the very openness of the Internet causes near nuclear annihilation. Simulation and reality precipitously meet when a very young Matthew Broderick hacks into a “game” called “Global Thermonuclear War” and decides to play as the Soviet Union––triggering NORAD officials to believe that genuine Soviet missiles are inbound, therefore perpetuating an unstoppable supercomputer program to “win the game” against the Soviets with real missiles. As a creative synthesis of the John Hughes-style 1980s teen film and an international thriller, WarGames moves at a pleasurably propulsive clip. Yet in the age of a president who baits North Korea by Tweet, and coming off a push notification by a worker at Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency who confused a drill with a genuinely impending missile-bound disaster, the mix of the virtual and the all-too-real found in WarGames has yet to lose its sober relevance.