The Fifth Estate

When I first read of WikiLeaks, my initial impression of Julian Assange was that he was an egotistical jerk. Because this R-rated, dramatized account of this cultural phenomenon is from the perspective of his former collaborator Daniel Berg, I found no reason to change my mind. In May, 2013, I reviewed a so-so documentary on the same topic, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" but I will say in its defense, it didn't have a spooky Benedict Cumberbatch doing his chilly portrayal of Assange.

Depending on your point of view, this audacious hacker and his army of anonymous volunteers exposed states' secrets and confidential files that jeopardized agents and shocked the world, therefore he is either a hero or a villain.

  • Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") is Julian Assange, a fellow who keeps offering different reasons why his hair is white. In my opinion, this thorny fellow may have a touch of Aspergers.
  • Daniel Brühl ("Rush") is Daniel Berg, an acolyte and eventually a skeptic who believes in Assange's original premise of total trans- parency for governments.
  • David Thewlis ("War Horse") is Nick Davies with The Guardian. He speaks for all of us when he questions the morality of the press exposing undercover agents and their families to reprisals.
  • Peter Capaldi ("In the Loop") is the voice for print journalism, he expresses the clash between ethics and the need for profit.
  • Dan Stevens ("Downton Abbey") is another member of the press. His admiration for Assange begins to falter.
  • Anthony Mackie ("Runner Runner") is one of the confounded U.S. officials. The sheer numbers of WikiLeaks' Internet activity boggles his brain.
This one went up in my estimation when I learned that Assange HATES it! He is, as of this writing (October, 2013), still hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

I didn't particularly like the script, it was too contrived and could have been far more thought provoking, but Cumberbatch gave me the willies and Laura Linney along with Stanley Tucci added class to the mix! If you didn't see the documentary, this will at least get you up to speed.
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Here is a link to a preview:
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