Dreamworks have released their trailer for The Fifth Estate or the WikiLeaks story as told by them. Directed by Bill Condon with a screenplay by Josh Singer, the film itself was created by using two different books about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website written by Domscheit-Berg and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy written by David Leigh and Luke Harding. You can see the trailer below.
The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch (who terrified audiences in Star Trek: Into Darkness) as Assange and it purports to show us the real life intrigue behind WikiLeaks and its pursuit of truth. It is showcased as a real life thriller which shows the journalist hacking into computer systems and revealing the truth.
The trailer appears to paint Assange as a real life visionary and rebellious journalist who believes that his war is justified and that people deserve to know the truth. But the trailer also seems to imply that he is a loner who doesn’t work well with others.
Speaking to EW, the director, Bill Condon says that the film doesn’t attempt to sway the audience on who Assange is and his role in the film. Condon said, “The movie presents him neither as hero or villain. We just try to present who he is and let you make up your mind. I think, in fact, he’s neither.”
According to Condon, the making of the film wasn’t interfered with by the government. So Dreamworks had a “free-hand,” so to speak, in their telling of the WikiLeaks story via The Fifth Estate.
The trailer begins by showing the infamous video of the U.S. military gunning down a group of people in Baghdad in 2007. It turned out that after the gun smoke had cleared two of the dead Reuters journalists and two children were wounded.
The video of the trailer also shows WikiLeaks in their attempts to expose banking fraud as well as trying to be the guiding light of truth in other causes.
It appears that Dreamworks have given Condon the freedom to show Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in a very ambiguous light. Condon has said that they never went out to paint the 42 year-old journalist as an “outright hero.” But the film has done a bit of brilliant casting by using Benedict Cumberbatch as he does look remarkably like Assange.
Dreamworks have said that they believe the film, “reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.”
WikiLeaks have stated that they aren’t supporting the film and have publicly denounced it on Twitter. The organisation posted the trailer on its Twitter account and tweeted: “Don’t be fooled. It implies we gave Iran nukes and killed 2,000.”
The organisation also points out on Twitter: “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).”
But the Fifth Estate film is attempting to tell the WikiLeaks story as depicted by Dreamworks and while WikiLeaks itself isn’t too enamoured of the final project, it does look to be pretty entertaining. The film is set to hit cinemas on October 18. Until then, look at the trailer and see what you think.
By Michael Smith