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The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate” is the movie WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange probably doesn’t want you to see. Here’s a look at the official trailer, just released from DreamWorks.

The thriller stars Benedict Cumberbatch with some seriously long white hair, even  more extreme than any of the many hairstyles Assange has sported over the year. (Now he has a conservative short cut.)

The movie, directed by Bill Condon, begins with Assange and his colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl), teaming up to start WikiLeaks, a site where whistleblowers can drop their covert data anonymously to reveal fraud and government wrongdoing.

Soon WikiLeaks is breaking hard news, publishing documents revealing fraud by the head of Iceland’s biggest bank. Then they post a video that shows Americans shooting down civilians, including Reuters reporters, in Iraq.

What finally gets the government on their trail is when the site gains access to a trove of documents that amounts to the biggest leak of classified information in history. The data came to WikiLeaks from a shy, unassuming army officer, Private Bradley Manning, who is now on trial in Fort Meade, Maryland, in a case that has been largely overlooked by the public and press.

That’s because there’s another whistleblower monopolizing the news: Edward Snowden, a former systems administrator for the National Security Agency in Hawaii, who passed thousands of documents from the agency’s computers and took off for Hong Kong, where he gave them to the British journal the Guardian.

Now the U.S. government has been hotly pursuing him since May. Snowden is holed up in an airport in Russia, where he seeks asylum. What makes “The Fifth Estate” more timely than ever is that WikiLeaks and Assange are back in the spotlight as they support and advise Snowden. Who doesn’t see another movie coming?

According to the trailer, “The Fifth Estate” seems to reveal Assange warts and all. It shows Assange’s colleague, Domscheit-Berg, angrily telling him, “This is about you and your ego, and the lies you tell to get whatever you want.”

The cast includes the wonderful Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander and Carice Van Houten.

The screenplay is by Josh Singer, based on the book “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and the Guardian book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by David Leigh and Luke Harding.

“The Fifth Estate” will be released in U.S. theaters on October 18, 2013.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. “The Fifth Estate” is based in part on Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s “Inside WikiLeaks.” It presents Domscheit-Berg as a hero for standing up to Assange. Here he is in his own words:

    
Along with trying to found a global anti-censorship movement, I had assigned myself another job, perhaps the toughest of my life. I had gotten t-shirts printed with the WL logo…because I wanted to save two cents per t-shirt, I’d ordered them in white…Who buys white t-shirts? Especially in a social clique where black t-shirts are something of a dress code. I myself had never worn a white t-shirt in my entire life!

    Now I was sitting on 250 shirts…I literally had to stop people in their tracks as they were passing our stand and beg them to trade €5 from their wallets for a t-shirt.

    Julian preferred to engage potential customers in deep conversations about the state of the world. He stood there talking and talking, occasionally getting into an argument, until no one was thinking about t-shirts anymore…

    
(I had) the idea to have the WL hourglass tattooed on my back…I needed two Tylenol with water and was constantly asking Fjölnir which country of the logo he was on. ‘Now doing Iceland.’ I sighed. ‘Morocco.’ OMG. By the time we got to Cape Hope, hope was something I no longer had. To this day I run around with half of a WL logo tattooed on my back.

    
- Daniel Domscheit-Berg, “Inside WikiLeaks.”

    What do you think?

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