Julian Assange Hates It, But Critics Laud Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Fifth Estate' Performance
The WikiLeaks founder has been a staunch rival to the film and even told Cumberbatch to abandon it. Some critics think that he should have too.
Arguably the most controversial organisation of the 21st century, WikiLeaks has sparked intrige and outrage in equal dose since it was launched at the beginning of the century. The Fifth Estate is the first real dramatisation of the event behind the controversial website, and although not everyone is impressed by the film, WikiLeaks found Julian Assange in particular, many have been taken by the man playing the Australian; Benedict Cumberbatch.
Co-stars Daniel Brühl and Benedict Cumberbatch as they appear in the film
The golden boy of British cinema (and just acting in general) right now, Cumberbatch has been given nothing short of sheer admiration for his portrayal of the divisive Assange. The film itself is proving to be as divisive as Assange and WikiLeaks though, as critics have been unable to decide on whether the film is actually any good.
he Fifth Estate has been regularly compared to David Fincher's Oscar-winning The Social Network, which also follows the founding of a website and the complex relationship between it's founders. Whether directors R.J. Cutler and Bill Condon planned on ripping off The Social Network for their version of the WikiLeaks story has yet to be realised, but the chances are the pair had their own vision when it came to bringing WikiLeaks to the big screen. Try telling that to the number of critics who couldn't get past how much it pales in comparison to the dramatisation of Mark Zuckerberg and co.'s college days.
The fact that it isn't up to the standards of The Social Network probably didn't cross Julian Assange's mind when he went on a furious triade against the film, uploading the full script to WikiLeaks, complete with annotations of where the film incorrectly portrays real events.
Reports have also stated that Cumberbatch wanted to meet up with Assange prior to filming for the benefit of his portrayal, however Assange refused the meeting and instead told the Sherlock actor to abandon the project. The letter was so well put-together that Cumberbatch reportedly considered leaving the project, only to be enticed back in eventually. You can read the full letter over at TheGuardian.com.
Assange has been a regular opponent of the film, citing it as propaganda against himself and his organisation. The film is based on two separate accounts of the founding of the website; Daniel Domscheit-Berg's (who is played by Daniel Brühl in the film) and the book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website, as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. These are both books that Assange has spoken out against, claiming they are written purposely to present him and WikiLeaks in a negative light.
This is entirely his beef with the film too and he has urged people not to go see it, least they be brainwashed by American governmental propaganda. His comments, and those of the negative criitcs, may prevent the film form being anyhting like the surprise success Dreamworks are hoping for.
The Fifth Estate arrives in US cinemas on 11 October, and on 1 January in the UK. You can see if you agree with Asange, the critics or your own opinion then.
Will you go see it?