Opening in theaters Oct. 18, The Fifth Estate is a thriller based on the true story of WikiLeaks. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks. The film is based in part on the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website, by former spokesperson Daniel Domschiet-Berg, and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding. Josh Singer, best known for his work on The West Wing, wrote the screenplay.
The movie shows Assange and Domschiet-Berg (Daniel Bruhl) on opposite sides of a moral conflict. When the two associates gain access to the largest collection of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they must decide whether the benefits of revealing them outweigh the destructive consequences.
The Fifth Estate also stars Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain), David Thewlis (from the Harry Potter film franchise) and veteran actors Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney. Directing the film, Bill Condon is best known for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2.
It should come as no surprise that a project that deals with such controversial subject matter would incite its own controversy. Earlier this year, Assange made news at an awards presentation at Oxford University when he characterized the film’s script as a “serious propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the integrity of its staff.”
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