Watch: First Trailer For 'The Fifth Estate' Starring Benedict Cumberbatch As Julian Assange

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 17, 2013 12:23 AM
11 Comments
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Journalist or traitor? Whistleblower or security threat? You might think we're talking about Edward Snowden, but before him was Julian Assange, who may not have been the first activist to shake up governments around the world, but certainly the one with the biggest influence in our times. And now his tale is getting told (whether he likes it or not).

Based on the books "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World's Most Dangerous Website" (by former Assange ally Daniel Domscheit-Berg) and "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy" (by David Leigh and Luke Harding), the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the platinum haired hacker icon and Daniel Bruhl as his pal and Wikileaks co-found Daniel, in the film that will track the rise of the watchdog organization and it's increasing influence and power. Here's the official synopsis:

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?"

The big question is whether the film will turn into an attack on Assange, or offer a more balanced portrait of an organization that has kicked open previously closed and high-ranking doors, shedding a bright light the nefarious, secretive doings of governments and banks. Either way, this one will get folks talking.

Directed by Bill Condon and co-starring Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney, "The Fifth Estate" opens on October 18th.

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11 Comments

  • JJBern | July 20, 2013 7:07 AMReply

    Amused at how some people said that it's a story that has not been over yet and told too early by simply watching the first trailer, which didn't give too much away. Seems those can make their decisions pretty firmly and quickly by glimpses though, comparing to what the filmmaker is trying to do with this film; how ironical is that? Facebook's story is continuing, as is Mr. Mandela's story; they have all been made into films by now.
    I'll definitely watch this movie. It'd be interesting to see how they tackle the story as it's current and just the cast will get me in; what a well-regarded ensemble; they are not that sort of actors and actresses would do movies just for vanity. Also, I like the fact that the trailer is actually not selling the cast and the director; none of them were credited in it; that makes it so clear that the most important thing for them is to tell the story, which is supposed to be the right mindset for every story worth to be told.

  • K.J. | July 17, 2013 10:38 AMReply

    Laura Linney hasn't turned in a decent performance in years. It's time for her to pack it up (did you see Hyde Park?).

  • jingmei | July 17, 2013 10:18 AMReply

    Man this looks cheeringly awesome.

  • Najo | July 17, 2013 8:52 AMReply

    Wow, the accent is spot on!

  • Duddi | July 17, 2013 8:29 AMReply

    I'll be looking forward to this one. Just eager to see how far they went (or how brave they were), since it's a kind of controversial story... Anyway, B. Cumberbatch looks good as Julian Assange... I'm definitely in. ;-)

  • Rachel | July 17, 2013 6:38 AMReply

    This is something that I will wait to see on HBO. I also agree with the earlier comments about the danger of telling a true story that is not over, and whose full implications can't yet be known; thus they'll hedge their bets by not taking a solid position. If anything, though, they seem to be leaning towards "Assange as hero," which is problematic in many ways.

  • Michael D | July 17, 2013 2:01 AMReply

    I'll definitely see it. Looks like it will be more sympathetic to Assange than "We Steal Secrets," which, basically, was a hit piece.

  • Matty | July 17, 2013 12:45 AMReply

    As an Australian I was skeptical, but his Australian accent sounds pretty freaking great.

  • Carson Wells | July 17, 2013 11:29 PM

    As a fellow Australian I agree with you. It's great.

  • Alex | July 17, 2013 12:36 AMReply

    I think the problem with the trailer is that the whole story with Assange, Snowden, Obama, NSA, Arab Spring is still evolving and in flux. The trailer makes the film look quite conventional with a typical dramatic arc and with an unsophisticated 'is he a hero or a villain?????' theme. People can obviously have opinions either way, but I don't think this is an issue that you can pin down and shoot, at least not while we are in the thick of it. Done right, a film addressing this issue would be a lot more procedural and morally ambiguous. I'd be interested to see what someone like Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, Paul Greengrass or Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck would do with this subject matter. The trailer could be misleading though, but I don't think so because the dialogue is problematic not just the cutting.

  • AE | July 17, 2013 4:21 AM

    I agree, what a bore. The real life show playing across the news channels is the only truly involving drama. This film coming so soon just looks ridiculously phony, a bunch of actors and writers playing gross vanity with a story bigger than they can contain right now. Assange is himself already playing his various roles brilliantly, and the news channels can spin a vulgar, titillating drama far better than the movie's can these days. Agree a director like Fincher/Bigelow with time and a wider angle could possibly tell us something new.

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