Review of 'Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee'

running_with_the_devil.jpg Yeah, wow, this film is most definitely “wild” telling the story of the eccentric John McAfee as a young enthusiast film crew of two initially flies to Belize to meet him, picked up at the airport then whisked away to nearby Guatemala escaping, John relates, a so-called plot on his life by the Belize government. He proports to know what is going on in every major government in the world due to back doors in software installed on most computers, presumably, the McAfee Anti-Virus software he wrote. He tells the film crew he is fleeing from those who wish to silence him and not, solely, from arrest on suspicion of killing his neighbour. As an incredibly wealthy individual he lives a life of drugs, alcohol, woman (two wives feature here in the two separate, time periods covered by the film), guns and general conspicuous consumption flitting around on screen from paranoid adventure to paranoid adventure. In fact he admits later in the film to exaggerating the drama (if not completely fabricating persecution) for the cameras which is not at all surprising to anyone having viewed the film.

This film is shot hand-held with lots of wobbly camera movements which may make some dizzy as we maniacally race from one place to the next. It certain gives a good idea of an undeniably…interesting…person but does little to shed any light into the truth of the accusations against him and those he makes himself. Instead this is all about living in the moment and the exhilaration of avoiding the bad guys. If this sounds disjointed to you, it most definitely, as befits his equally disjointed personality. I can't say I felt too much sympathy for the man despite the filmmakers making a vague attempt at painting him as a bit of a counter-culture hero. To me he comes across as an egomaniac in search of publicity and meaning in his otherwise meaningless life beyond his early days as a businessman. At the very least he has a severe case of OCD. With all of this it seems to me that he is a very lonely man looking for some way to fill his time, to make life interesting.

A disturbing and confusing story of a disturbing and confusing ex-Silicon Valley tycoon. Is he innocent or guilty? You decide as the film won't tell you.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2022-10-15

Directed by: Charlie Russell

Studio: Curious Films

Year: 2022

Length: 105 minutes

Genre: Documentary