SpyTalk at the Movies: A Descent into Online Terror
'Profile,' an unconventional thriller inspired by a French journalist’s real use of Facebook to infiltrate the Islamic State, exposes the possibilities and perils of social media
Being a freelance journalist requires a strong stomach, particularly if you’re a woman sitting on your London sofa pretending to be in love with a recruiter for the Islamic State, as becomes rapidly clear in Timur Bekmambetov’s engaging thriller, Profile.
In the time it takes to crunch a few kernels of popcorn, reporter Amy Whittaker, under pressure to file a story and pay her rent, has catfished an IS fighter named Abu Bilel al-Britani. With a symphony of keyboard clicks, she creates a fake Facebook persona and swiftly assembles a credible following as a wannabe jihadi by sharing videos of a man being dropped from a tower, a journalist being beheaded, and IS fighters parading through Raqqa, Syria. Between keystrokes, she debates with her boyfriend Matt whether they can afford the extra 600 quid for a flat with a garden for her dog, Sparky, quickly cueing a sense of the kinds of sacrifices desperate reporters sometimes make to do their jobs.
Profile, which opens in theater…
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