Tag Archives: Reviews

Review of IOB: “A frightening case study in the power of government”


The Internet’s Own Boy (Review)
By Norm Schrager for Paste Magazine  on June 27, 2014

From the Review:

The Internet’s Own Boy is Brian Knappenberger’s (We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists) account of Swartz’s immensely abbreviated life as one of the most vital and controversial contributors to the progress of the Internet and, more notably, the availability of its contents. A distinctively human tale in a world of software development, Own Boy succeeds on many levels: it’s a compact, descriptive history of a nascent Internet, a frightening case study in the power of government, and a collection of interviews with the most prominent voices of the Web Age. But most important—and most effective to the storytelling—The Internet’s Own Boy is about a brilliant youngster who was becoming a brilliant man before he took his own life…

Knappenberger traces Swartz’s growth and burgeoning activism with the eye of an investigative reporter, assembling some of the most interesting talking heads in the industry, including Tim Berners-Lee (yeah, he invented the World Wide Web) and soft-spoken Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig. Brilliant minds themselves, they all recognized Swartz’s smarts and courage, and express it on screen wonderfully.

LA Times: Aaron’s Story Cannot Help But Touch You

aaron dark

Critic’s Pick ‘Internet’s Own Boy’ outlines suicide of prodigy Aaron Swartz

By Kenneth Turan for the LA Times

From the Review (July 2, 2014):

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” is an unemotional title for a moving documentary that will leave you heartsick as well as more than a little angry. Whether Aaron Swartz is a personal hero or someone you’ve never heard of until now, his story cannot help but touch you…

Swartz’s death shocked the Internet community because of the aims and tactics of U.S. prosecutors who, the film contends, exhibited considerably more zeal than sense. Hearing from friends, family, colleagues and admirers makes it clear how unbearably sad it is that someone as young and gifted as Swartz felt compelled to take his own life.”

“The Internet’s Own Boy” is a New York Times Critics’ Pick!

A Prodigious Beginning, Then an Early Ending                                               By Jeannette Catsoulis for the New York Times                                      June 26, 2014

Moving and maddening in almost equal measure, Brian Knappenberger’s “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” is a devastating meditation on what can happen when a prescient thinker challenges corporate interests and the power of the state.