This cyber-comedy/thriller takes its premise from a very real internet mystery. According to Wikipedia: “Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that, on three occasions, has posted a set of puzzles to recruit codebreakers from the public … It has been called ‘the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age’ and is listed as one of the ‘top 5 eeriest, unsolved mysteries of the internet.'” Connor (Jack Kesy) is just a brilliant hacker working as a bartender when he stumbles into the Cicada mystery. With the aid of hot librarian and fellow hacker Gwen (Conor Leslie, “Titans”, “Man in the High Castle”) and his best friend and art expert Avi (Ron Funches, Trolls, “Black-ish”) he follows the clues, outruns the NSA who are also trying to get to Cicada, gets in more than a few tight spots, and finally gets an invite to Cicada’s exclusive party in London. Of course it isn’t everything he hoped.
The film is framed by Connor defending himself in front of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for several major crimes the NSA has accused him of. In a series of flashbacks he tells the court what happened over the last 29 days. How he found the game, what clue led to the next clue, how he and his pals were almost killed, and how he and Cicada 3301 shut down the power grid over the whole city. And finally what happened at that posh London party.
The film is twisty and turny, but also pretty funny at times. The NSA agents on their tail are an odd couple team – Agent Sullivan (Andreas Apergis) is a by-the-book veteran, but Agent Carter played by director Alan Ritchson is not too smart, prone to violence, and a burden for Sullivan’s investigation at every turn. As action pics go, there’s plenty to keep you entertained, and the snappy dialogue keeps the plot moving pretty fast. Fortunately, the cast is up to the task, with Jack Kesy ably handling the witty genius hacker with lots of tricks up his sleeve and a conscience. The film had me thinking of The Game and The Net, but lighter and funnier. If that’s your kind of flick, you’ll probably enjoy this one.
It’s streaming now.