Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a computer software analyst (beta tester) for Cathedral Software, whose life completely revolves around her work. She is a quiet but strong-willed character, perceived as introverted by her neighbors.
A fellow analyst from Cathedral Software, Dale, sends her a program on a disk that when run displays a peculiar Pi (π) symbol in the lower-right corner. Dale instructs Angela to hold the CTRL and SHIFT buttons while clicking the π symbol, revealing that it gives the user entry point access to government and military computer systems. (We later find that they have recently implemented a newly developed piece of illegitimate 'protection' software called The GateKeeper System and this is what the film hinges upon.)
On vacation in Mexico, Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam) acquaints himself with Angela under the pretense that he is just another computer hacker on vacation. He is later revealed to have been sent by an internet terrorist group known as the Praetorians. He tries to steal the computer disk she has with her (the virus which she discovers in the first scene being on the diskette), but she escapes. Now is when she learns what the Praetorians are capable of with the GateKeeper's backdoor. When she tries to re-enter the United States, Angela discovers that her identity has been changed by the hackers who are stalking her, and she is now listed as "Ruth Marx", a convicted prostitute with a string of drug offenses.
Arrested by the police, Angela escapes and goes on the run. Unable to find anyone who can identify her, she contacts her former lover and psychiatrist, but he is also murdered as a result of the hackers' machinations.
Desperate to escape the 'net', Angela/Ruth sneaks into the Cathedral office where the hacker is thought to be located. She identifies one of the hackers, now using Angela's identity, and contrives to uncover the master plan of the Praetorians, which is to install their own 'Gatekeeper' software into the mainframes of several government and military computer systems. Angela sets off the fire alarm and manages to copy all of the evidence of the hacker's plan onto a disk, just before the fake Angela makes it back to her desk.
At a computer convention, she sends an e-mail to the FBI, revealing the hackers' plan. Jack arrives at the computer station where Angela was working at and hacks into the FBI mainframe, he tells Angela that everything she did will be deleted by pressing the escape key. But what Jack didn't realize is that Angela inserted a disk that contained a virus that will infect any system when the escape key is pressed. In doing so, he releases the virus into Cathedral's mainframe and all of the files are deleted. Angela escapes and she is chased by Jack and the fake "Angela". Jack accidentally kills his partner and the real Angela ambushes Jack, knocking him off a catwalk and sending him to his death.
Based on the evidence that she has sent the FBI, the hackers are arrested, and Angela gets her life back.