What a great title, The Fifth Estate. That’s the new moniker for the Bill Condon film about the early days of Wikileaks: a sort of The Social Network for activist document-leakers it would seem. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as central figure Julian Assange, and if you thought Mark Zuckerberg was a douchey, morally dubious tech figure to base a film around, just wait till Assange hits the screen.
If I took anything from the documentary Wikileaks: Secrets & Lies, it’s that Assange was a crusader with interesting questions to ask and lines to draw, and he might have remained an important figure had he not turned out to be such a creepy, creepy guy.
It’s an interesting tragedy though, and Assange represents the true paradox of our time. Any important figure of change from MLK Jr. to Mother Theresa to the Dali Lama has controversy buried in their story- a dark side that may or may not have been enough to topple them had it been promoted. But gentleman’s agreements and greater-good discretion in the press are things of the past, and the changes Assange represents are a big reason why. Such is the irony when the great proponent of transparency and the destroyer of government secrets turns out to be such a stained figure himself- one easily torn apart once that transparency reflects back on him.
Still, the story of Wikileaks and its brief partnership with the (fourth estate!) traditional news media to comb through an unprecedented military document leak is an exciting one. The script here is from TV writer Josh Singer (The West Wing, Lie To Me, Fringe) and features Anthony Mackie, Laura Linney, and David Thewlis, as well as Daniel Bruhl as seen in the picture above.
Dreamworks and Participant Media have set a November 15th, 2013 release.