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.