Release Date: October 18, 2013
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriter: Josh Singer
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney
Genre: Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for language and some violence)
Plot Summary: 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?
As you can see from previous reader reviews the Assanginitas are going to be out in force denouncing this dramatization of Julian Assange’s rise and fall. Ignore them. Like all “based on a true story” films people ad incidents were compressed for dramatic purposes. But the story overall is quite true. Benedict Cumberbatch captures Assange’s preening narcissism and raging paranoia perfectly. He’s especially adroit in scenes in which Assange tells lies only to revise them when the truth surfaces. Visually rich and very exciting this is quite different from anything Bill Condon has done before. This is an Alan J. Pakula style dram brought up to date with exceptionally flashy graphics and a breathless pace matching it’s leading character’s seemingly unstoppable drive. Edward Snowden, who was in contact with Assange at some point, is not mentioned. But Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning certainly is. I hope Condon has plans form making a Manning film in the future, cause he’s definitely the director for it.