The film is getting mixed reviews so far, but Cumberbatch believes it's a faithful interpretation.
Benedict Cumberbatch has a lot of respect for Julian Assange and believes his portrayal of the WikiLeaks founder in the upcoming film The Fifth Estate to be a celebration of Assange’s work. Even so, Assange himself has distanced himself from the film and Cumberbatch and co. haven’t had any access to the him during their work on The Fifth Estate.
Cumberbatch defines his performance as "a celebration" of Assange's work.
Assange, who lost the Australian senate race this week, has previously rejected the film and Cumberbatch rightly assumes that he would not like his own portrayal in The Fifth Estate. The film opened this week at Toronto Film Festival, with Cumberbatch commenting for Reuters after the premiere: "I am not a betting man, but I imagine he won't particularly want to support the film."
While Assange himself might not be a fan, the film has been getting overall positive (or sometimes mixed) reviews. Variety has praised Cumberbatch for capturing “Assange's slightly otherworldly air," although the film itself received only hesitant praise for being “stimulating but overly frenetic”
Meanwhile, critics still aren't sure what to make of the film.
The Hollywood Reporter’s review showers Cumberbatch in enthusiastic praise for “[having] the character in hand from the start” and projecting exactly the right amount of self-regard and “slippery ethics.”
The supporting actors, like Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney, are yet to receive the critics' attention.
The film itself tracks Assange and Wikileaks’ rise from the first days to the website’s first big “leak” of US military intelligence in 2010, which thrust the website and its creator into the public eye. With several other films centered around WikiLeaks and/or Assange on the way, it is clear that the issue has remained a hot topic for the past three years and it appears that, for better or worse, The Fifth Estate is already making a strong impression as well.
Daniel Bruhl co-stars alongside Cumberbatch.