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?”
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.
In The Fifth Estate, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. The trailer above features interviews with Laura Linney, whose character brings the perspective of the government, and director Bill Condon.
Assange himself isn’t too happy with the film, claiming that the film is based on two books that are both “toxic” and “biased.” Assange asked Cumberbatch to step down from the film in an open letter, but – ultimately – Cumberbatch resolved to stay on because of the “integrity” he wanted to bring to “a provocative, difficult, but ultimately timely and a truly important figure of our modern times.” [x]
You can read Assange’s full letter to Cumberbatch here. Here is an excerpt:
Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion.
This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads.
It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand.
As justification it will claim to be fiction, but it is not fiction. It is distorted truth about living people doing battle with titanic opponents. It is a work of political opportunism, influence, revenge and, above all, cowardice.
The Fifth Estate premieres in theaters on October 18th.