Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Like other quickly adapted films based on not-so-distant-past events (Zero Dark Thirty, W., Game Change) Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate retells the rise of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks without the sort of historical distance that would require drawing reasonable conclusions. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Assange—which is basically the European version of the ego boost Brad Pitt gave Billy Beane by playing him in Moneyball—with a white-blonde coiffure that might elicit some strange reactions from the Cumberbitches. The rest of the cast includes Inglourious Basterds’ Daniel Brühl, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, and David Thewlis, a group of talent that would only seem to further feed Assange’s opinion of himself.

And yet, WikiLeaks is already firing back over its disgust with the trailer. Assange described the film as a “massive propaganda attack” after obtaining the script in January, though this trailer certainly makes Assange seem like the same egocentric, gleeful thorn in the side of government that he comes off as in his television interviews. Beyond that, WikiLeaks has issues with whether a fabricated incident involving an Iranian source put in danger by leaked information will make it into the film. Condon says it didn’t, though WikiLeaks responds, “Our comments are based on the script used during filming, not, as the [director] Bill Condon falsely states, an old script (though we have them too).”


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