Fun fact: did you know that China is the first country to label "internet addiction" as a clinical disorder? But in this case, it's excessive gaming. And this is not the first film or first Asian nation to deal with this issue. Another Sundance documentary, Love Child, tackles it in Korea. But Web Junkie takes a closer look at individuals we actually have access to.
Web Junkie examines a Beijing military base that rehabs teens who are addicted to video games. The film captures the minds of many who live there while trying to focus on three specific individuals ( Nicky, Hope, and "Hacker") and their families. By far, Nicky is the most aggressive of the three and his fits of rage, at times, can be unsettling to watch.
While the film aims to give us intimate insight of the teens that are participating in the program, the editing lacks a strong narrative momentum and makes it feel longer than it should. Also, I'm not sure if the filmmakers were able to get an "all-access" look as it would appear. The rehab procedure seems less meticulous than your average boot camp. While there is physical exercise, the film seems to spend more time showing the boys get lectured by Professor Mao than showing how the rehab process actually works. If all of it is just lecturing and counseling sessions, then there may be a bigger problem looming that needs to be documented.