Troll Inc. is a 2017 documentary directed by George Russell. The documentary tells the story of Andrew Aurenheimer, also known as ‘weev’. Troll Inc. makes you wonder if you are being trolled. The film frames the trolling exploits of Aurenheimer. It starts out with him showing off his troll skills and background on trolling culture. The main bulk of the film deals with Aurenheimer’s trial and defense for the 2010 AT&T security breach for the then new iPad.
The Movie (3.5/5)
The documentary itself is good. Starts off a little hectic, but quickly settling in to tell the story of Aurenheimer. The subject matter in the film will turn people off. The act of trolling is viewed as someone trying to jostle the social system and culture we have, as Aurenheimer says in the film. While talking about trolling use of racism, antisemitism, gore and things to that nature are used. There is multiple times throughout the film where Aurenheimer says heil Hitler, along with other members of the trolling community.
The main focus of the documentary is Aurenheimer, who doesn’t hide the fact he is all in this for the “lulz”. It would be a lie if I said Aurenheimer was easy to like. He jumps between saying he did it for the “lulz” to defending free speech, when talking about many letters he wrote insulting the judge and prosecutor during his trial. The main motivation he shows for his actions are to troll, which makes sense given his career as one. With the exception of one other interview, most of the doc is spent heaping him with praise and explaining why doing what he is doing is okay. It feels very one sided at times. This isn’t the fault of the film maker as it stated that anyone who isn’t in the doc was asked and declined or didn’t answer at all. Sadly, this does take away from the film as it only feels like it is one side of the story. Only one person interviewed seems to be against this form of trolling and is a soft spoken hacker, who is painted by some of the trolls to be the bad guy of the situation.
There are a few weird scenes in the doc, that almost feel like apologies for or defenses of Aurenheimer. Throughout the film he says racist things, other members of his Goatse Security group(Do not google them) also say pretty offensive things. This is all put under the banner of good fun or not meaning it. There is a string of moments of friends of Aurenheimer, a gay Jewish man, a trans woman and a black man, where all three defend him from actually being a racist, homophobic, antisemitic. This is after he is shown heiling Hitler, holding a sign blaming Jewish people at an Occupy Wallstreet event, and being part of a group called the GNAA, which uses a homophobic slur and the N word in the title. His troll friend seem to care deeply for him, one even flew from Germany back to the U.S. to bail him out of jail.
Like most documentaries, Troll Inc. just ends. Aurenheimer gets out of jail, due to venue issues, after a few years. He leaves the U.S. and continues to troll. There is no grand conclusion as the story just goes on. Google searches can show what goes on next with him, but the film seems to have been the high points of his trolling career.
Some Extra Thoughts: Aurenheimer is against violence, which is a plus. He makes a lot of racist jokes and further google searches show he is most likely a racist and not putting on a character. He was put on this earth to troll, or at least he seems to believe so. A lot of defending of the racism used in the film is a turn off. Not all the terms used are explained. Love him or hate him, what Aurenheimer did was impressive.
The overall audio quality of the doc is solid. Nothing amazing, but every interview is understandable and clear. There are no dips or quality issues. There is some music but nothing that stands out from the background noise.
Troll Inc. is a solid documentary. Those who aren’t trolls, will likely be a little offended but interested in the story of Aurenheimer. Those who are trolls will probably view him as a founder paving the way for greater trolling.