A star rating of 4 out of 5.

There's a scene in Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee in which the computer programmer is being surrounded by Guatemalan authorities, Interpol and other powerful figures outside a fancy hotel. Having fled his Belize home after his neighbour was found with a gunshot wound to the head, McAfee is wanted for various reasons, with the most immediate of those being his alleged illegal entry into Guatemala. Just when he's about to be hauled into the back of a police van, the billionaire whips out a flute and starts playing it.


Not only is this just one of many unbelievable moments that feature in the 100-minute documentary, but it's only the start of McAfee's remarkably ridiculous road to arrest and a story that has to be seen to be believed. Thankfully, a camera crew managed to capture it all on film.

For those unfamiliar with the Netflix documentary's subject, John McAfee hit headlines in June last year after being found dead in his Spanish jail cell, shortly after the country's court had authorised his extradition back to the US for tax evasion charges. However, the 75-year-old, who founded anti-virus software company McAfee back in 1987, had been on the run for nearly 10 years prior, with the Belize authorities wanting to question him over the murder of his neighbour Gregory Faull back in November 2012.

While Running with the Devil certainly isn't the first film about McAfee to be released after his death, it's one of the few containing never-before-seen footage of McAfee whilst on the run, armed with guns, drugs, various women and a dangerously unchecked ego. Directed by BAFTA-winning documentarian Charlie Russell, the film tries to dive into who exactly McAfee is and whether he was a killer, following him as he bounces between various countries whilst speaking to the journalists and girlfriends that he dragged along the way.

John McAfee with girlfriend Sam in 2012
John McAfee with girlfriend Sam in 2012. Netflix

First up is former VICE reporter Rocco Castoro and camera man Robert King, who flew into Belize to document McAfee's escape at his own request. Completely unprepared for what was to come with camera equipment they'd obtained from a bar, the pair's attempts to get a straight answer out of McAfee are thwarted by his need to control the narrative of how he's perceived ("People say I remind them of the Joker – the Joker is the best description of me") and the constant moving from place-to-place.

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Convinced that the Belizean government and the Sinaloa drug cartel want to kill him for hacking into the country's mobile phones, McAfee's restlessness will make you feel as though you're on the lam with him and produces a documentary that can't stop to take a breath. From appearing to fake a heart attack to get out of arrest and threatening to shoot his camera man whilst exiled on a boat he'd apparently bought from 'Wolf of Wall Street' Jordan Belfort, to trying on wigs to go undercover and implying that he was involved in his father's death, the documentary paints a portrait of self-obsessed, paranoid attention seeker who knows how to deliver a good soundbite.

Speaking about himself in the third person, the computer programmer says at the start of the documentary: "So, is McAfee a successful entrepreneur who went made and killed his neighbour? Or is he the potential saviour of America?" before describing his story as "James Bond meets Scarface with a little Indiana Jones", which should give you a flavour of just how big his personality is.

John McAfee
John McAfee in Running with the Devil. Netflix

The flamboyant, villain-esque displays of McAfee's egomania are interspersed with journalists, cameramen and girlfriends speaking about their relationships with the businessman. While Robert King speaks somewhat admirably of McAfee despite pinning his paranoia on the bath salts he was taking, ghost writer Alex Cody Foster sheds light on McAfee's darker side, saying: "John was the virus. Has he ruined people's lives? Yes," before adding that he's the most "brilliant, manipulative man" he had ever met. With so many conflicting accounts of McAfee's situation – including one from his wife who claims that she was hired by mysterious figures to poison him – it's hard to determine which threats are actually real and which are an invention of McAfee's dodgy mental state.

A true crime documentary that has you constantly guessing, Running with the Devil could have easily been a miniseries, particularly as you finish the film craving more of McAfee's chaos. This also would have allowed Russell to dive deeper into the theories around McAfee's death, which despite being officially ruled as suicide, has many people speculating that he could still be alive – especially considering the very last line spoken by his former girlfriend, Sam.

With some of the best documentaries being examinations of complicated characters, this film is a fascinating insight into an intelligent but dangerous man that'll leave you wanting to run with the devil a little longer.

Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 24th August. Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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