Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee
Crime / Documentary
Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee
Crime / Documentary
Mysteries abound in the life of John McAfee. He made millions creating antivirus software, then reinvented himself as a yogi, a proponent of herbal medicine, and a serial entrepreneur. He was known for his charm and generosity. Then his life took another turn. He moved from the US to Belize and built a heavily armed compound in the jungle, like a modern day Heart of Darkness. McAfee never shied away from media attention and boasted of his libertine lifestyle, maintaining a harem of young women. In 2012 his neighbour in Belize, an American named Gregory Faull, was found murdered by a gunshot. Sought for questioning by local authorities, McAfee fled to Guatemala, then returned to the US where he pursued the Libertarian Party nomination for President in 2016. Over the years, journalists have told pieces of McAfee's story (including the infamous Vice report accidentally revealing his secret location). Here the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nanette Burstein delivers a deep ...
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June 27, 2018 at 04:10 AM
Well done doc that holds your interest
I'm a bit hesitant when documentary filmmakers include themselves in the film their making. But in this case filmmaker Nanette Burstein straddles that line nicely, particularly when the subject of her film won't talk to her! But McAfee does..... via email. And near the end of the film when she is able to "corner" her subject, the result is interestingly captured all on camera. Her persistence in tracking down witnesses, friends and associates is admirable and the results speak for themselves. Is John McAfee crazy? a brilliant media provocateur? A computer genius? All three? I won't spoil anything, but let me just say that the interviews with the "girlfriends" was probably one of the most shocking and disgusting things I have ever heard in my life. Let's leave it at that. In conclusion, the documentary held my interest and was well-produced.
Worth watching but not for journalistic reasons.
What i was hoping would be a journalistic piece turned out to be a pop-documentary and assassination piece.
Stylistically it is very slick, however uses elements similar to shows like MTV's Catfish, with cheap animated email snippets.
As a journalistic piece this documentary is very poor. Something from the offset does not ring true with the interviews, there are many inconsistencies which go unquestioned. At one point when interviewing Johns ex-girlfriends they all just happen to have the exact same story, one even says she was payed for sex and then says she never actually had sex with him (claiming only to have done other stuff), it feels like they interviewer is prompting towards it. At no point do the makers even attempt to come across as unbiased, When interviewing what they claim to be the actual murderer, he presents them with an alibi for the murder, which they openly state in the documentary they didn't bother investigating. The opening of the documentary is even dash cam footage of Mcafee being arrested, which at no point is made relevant, shortly followed after by the question; "is John simply a master manipulator?". At no point either are any of Johns claims investigated despite the fact there does seem to be evidence towards them in the free press and what could of been a very interesting thread of the story (John being intimidated for $2 million dollars by a government official and days later being raided by an elite police unit.
One of the most compelling parts of the story is about how John treated a female American botanist, though again this story has a falsity that it is hard to place a finger on. The documentary does not challenge or attempt to question aspects of her story. She states that after an incident she "smashes the vials so John could hurt anybody", the documentarian never asks why or what the vials were.
More than that defeating the legitimacy of this documentary are the various interviews with people from it, either claiming to have been lied to by the director or producing receipts showing they had been payed by Nanette (simply check YouTube), including one produced by "Mac-10", who on the documentary it was claimed fled the country.
The most painful part is when she confronts Mcafee while running for president and seems delight in making him uncomfortable.
I did not mean for this to be such a negative point of view or an attempt to defeat what is presented. The documentary lays out and presents the arc and story of Johns life very well, focusing on the period of his life spent in South America. It is well filmed and put together, however journalistic-ally it is lacking and seems quite happy to make no attempt to really investigate anything.
Worth watching, especially if you are not aware of who John Mcafee is but with a large pinch of salt and a little extract research on the side.
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Great documentary with much more than meets the eye
In a nutshell, the documentary is mostly about the less known years of John McAfee during his stay in Belize. Thou some might say that the coverage in this documentary is mostly biased and intentionally created to show McAfee's shenanigans, I would highly recommend to keep a few things in mind before watching it:
1. McAfee sold his cyber security company before moving to Belize to Intel, which used his anti-virus with his last name during the whole period, until today. The company worth nowadays half of the price McAfee sold it, and its price got lower with every bad press coverage during the years of McAfee in Belize. Additionally, McAfee started a new cyber security start-up right after he got back to US.
2. During the last elections, McAfee was leading contender of the Libertarian Party. His political intentions are clear and may seem in his way of living during his days in Belize.
This Documentary is HIS MAGNUM OPUS, it's his door opener to a movie starring Johnny Depp about his life - and later on, his political career. a must watch documentary in my point of view.