The film grabs the viewer from the first scene. Robert Redford and his supporting cast shows what a broad range of talent is necessary to handle the roles. Each is a social malcontent, yet wholly professional as they address the questions posed by clients and circumstances. Among them, David Strathairn stands out. Comparing his presentation with his base commander role in Memphis Belle shows the depth of his abilities. As a blind techie relying on hearing alone, his contribution to this film is sensational. Ben Kingsley, as Redford's Mafia foil, provides a stunning presentation of a man caught up in the realities of today's information saturated world.
While the plot of this film is thin, the actors rise above its limitations with their performances. This film isn't about 'hacking', it's about advances in information technology. What is needed to protect information used in airline routing, medical research or electrical grids? The technology is valid, a 'super cracker' device is under investigation by countless agencies, both government and private. Today's mathematics will provide such a device, but one hopes it won't be achieved by the strange character depicted in this film. The serious question arises over who will control it. James Earl Jones, as the government agent who ultimately acquires the cracker is far too easygoing for the job he fills. That being said, the message of this film is vivvidly expressed. It's a film worthy of any library, to be viewed frequently for its impact.