It seems that these days you can’t go anywhere without some sort of national secret being leaked, like the fact that President Jacob Zuma has built a special pleasure dome into his not-a-compound*. Thanks to the world wide web, secret-leakers are now able to post all manner of information quick and anonymously, but when it comes to finding a face for that movement, Julian Assange is that coiffed icon.
So naturally, the man needs a movie detailing his life as soon as possible. Add in some extra drama and Sherlock Holmes, and that’s how you wind up with The Fifth Estate.
Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, THE FIFTH ESTATE reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes.
Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?
Dramatizing the rise and fall of Assange, and then some, the film is arriving at an interesting time nonetheless. With Edward Snowden pulling a Tom Hanks in a Russian airport and groups such as Anonymous hacking the crap out of the Pentagon, secrecy is now even more precious than it ever was. With everything in more developed nations spying on you, from game consoles through to your own web service, people are getting a touched pissed off with the big brother attitude of governments.
And hopefully a film like this can ask them to be a bit less trusting at the end of the day. The Fifth Estate will be leaking secrets into cinemas from October, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney. Bill Condon directs.
*This is a lie. Or is it?
Last Updated: July 17, 2013