Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld (2023) Movie Review – An interesting but overlong Netflix documentary

An interesting but overlong Netflix documentary

Cyberbank is a fascinating albeit overlong documentary film, mixing tongue in cheek humour with a genuinely eye-opening and dramatic story involving a small group of hackers. From their base at an abandoned bunker, these misfits find themselves caught up in the midst of a huge criminal spiral, powering the darkest corners of the internet, where they promise to host just about anything, no questions asked.

Those questions are thoroughly dissected here though, as the film moves through who Herman Xennt – the founder of all this – is, along with the likeminded individuals who set up their data-center inside this old NATO bunker in the town of Traben-Trarbach.

Xennt has a dodgy past both his intentions and actions even more so. Alongside “Vice President” Sven, he well and truly fall in that grey area between freedom of speech and questionably morally skewed. Sven in particular is a charismatic character but his entire worldview is twisted and distorted. He’s the one who’s likely to be the most remembered here though, while the rest of the interviews are pretty flat and monotone to be honest.

While the story itself is interesting, Cyberbunker ultimately slips up with both the presentation and editing. This film absolutely did not need 100 minutes to tell its story. A sharp, concise 75 would have sufficed for this.

The editing stitches together re-enactments, and long, drawn-out archival shots of being shown around the different bunkers, for example, but given the first one burns down due to some rather unsavoury goods found inside (I won’t spoil that here!) it just seems like a bit of a waste of time to show all of this. And that’s just one little example of this.

However, the film does pick up toward the midway point and from here, as the story slowly unravels, there’s some genuine drama and tension. It’s just a pity that the first half doesn’t quite follow suit. It’s still enjoyable to watch, but one can’t help but feel it could have been so much more. Either way, this is a fascinating story, and if you can stick with it, there’s enough here to enjoy.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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