Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee (2022)

Title: Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee

Year: 2022

Genre: Crime | Documentary |

Runtime:   105 min

Director: Charlie Russell

Starring:   Rocco Costoro, Robert King, John McAfee


5.9/10

Through raw, revealing footage and interviews with fugitive tech pioneer John McAfee, this documentary uncovers new layers of his wild years on the run.

ENTERTAINING BUT FAILS WITH TECHNICAL BITS

John McAfee is a man with a multitude of personas. He’s been called paranoid, unstable, unreliable, and — most recently — the “most hated man in America.” The latter is the title given to him after his interview on the New York Magazine podcast Obsession.

Since then, his responses have only made things worse. In an interview with Vice Media, he said that if he were to be arrested for anything it would probably be for murder. On Twitter, he also claimed that the FBI had contacted him about being involved in the disappearance of a neighbour who had gone missing on his property months prior. In light of all these odd antics and suggestions, many are questioning what exactly is going on with John McAfee. He was also named one of the “most feared men in technology” by Business Insider in response to his outspoken criticism of Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other top tech companies. However, you look at it, John McAfee is an intriguing figure.

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After leaving the U.S., he was charged with the murder of his neighbour, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head and a gun discovered near McAfee’s house. He was also charged with possessing illegal drugs and firearms without a license, though he was never charged with drug trafficking and was released on bond. He went into hiding until the charges were dropped in 2016.

It’s hard to know what exactly is going on with John McAfee, but it seems fair to say that he is not handling the media attention well. In addition to his comments about murder and drugs, he has said that he doesn’t believe that global warming is real and that the 2020 election was hacked. While it’s possible that McAfee is experiencing some mental breakdown, it’s also possible that he is orchestrating a very calculated media strategy. It’s clear that he’s attempting to paint himself as an unstable, criminal mastermind — which could be part of a strategy to receive attention from the media and the public.

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This is a very special documentary as it’s not the filmmaker or director in this case that is telling the story, instead, we get Robert King that has pursued a story for himself. First through Vice and then for himself. There are a lot of questions after the documentary has ended. A documentary with two documentaries in itself. The editing is choppy, some camera angles are obscure. The purpose of the documentary is unclear, even after the credits. Much of the story tries to fill in the gap between years after Guatemala in 2012 and when he’s on the run in 2019. What happens in these years, titled five years in the documentary film, is something that never gets any closure.

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How and why McAfee even died is unknown. A lot of his doings are as much speculative as he’s dangerous and malicious. A film to watch for entertaining sake but for the quality, it doesn’t live up even to the expectation or the standard from a company like Netflix itself.

 

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Grade 2 of 5

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