The 5th Estate Review

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

TIFF 2013 opened with the highly controversial World Premiere of The Fifth Estate, a political drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, founder and head of Wikileaks, and Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg as his right hand man. Political intrigue makes great drama, and even more so when it is unfolding simultaneously on screen and in real life. Australian Julian Assange, his life at stake, has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, England since June 2012, given asylum from an enraged US government and many powerful others. Assange has been the focus of two popular books: Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website by WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl); and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy a book by David Leigh and Luke Harding, numerous articles, news reports and internet chatter and talk shows. A movie about his early years ‘Underground’ premiered at TIFF 2012 and is he is the subject of a major article in Vanity Fair by ex Wall Street journalist Sarah Ellison. Fifth Estate may prove to be the tipping point for public understanding about who Julian Assange really is. If you were unaware of the issues beforehand, it will be impossible to ignore them now. The issues are complex. Anyone sympathetic to Julian Assange is immediately an enemy of his enemies and that is a scary thought. The script left many biopic details out about Assange’s early life that could have been woven into this story for greater understanding of his character. The film Underground directed by Robert Connolly (TIFF) about Assange’s early years fills in these gaps. Underground

Oscar winning Director Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 & 2, Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters) has done a remarkable job assembling a stellar cast to bring the complex and dangerous story to the screen. It is an informative and engaging tale that follows Assange’s creation of Wikileaks. We meet the small group of Wikileaks people intimately involved with Assange and the international political fallout of revealing secrets some governments, banks and internationally powerful individuals hoped would never see the light of day. Nick Davies from The Guardian is portrayed by David Thewlis. Julian Assange angered by the movie has claimed source material for the script is based on lies. We may never really know as it relies heavily on WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks. Despite relying heavily on Berg’s story, the film portrays Assange as a modern day hero.

We see Assange’s genius in assembling the data, his single-minded commitment to exposing the truth, his personal sacrifice to the cause and the impetus behind his unstoppable desire to share these embarrassing secrets with the world. These are not nice secrets. They show the most disgusting and unforgivable abuse of power, corruption and immoral use of military might. They expose the lies we have been told. We begin to fully appreciate the horrific price being paid across the globe because of greed and corruption by people entrusted to protect from positions of privilege. We see the excessive, cruel punishment of the whistleblowers such as Manning and now Snowden, and we know we are at a pivotal moment in history.


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