Can The Fifth Estate do for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks what The Social Network did for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? That's the key question about the upcoming biopic chronicling the rise of the news-leaking website, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as founder Julian Assange. And in this first glimpse at The Fifth Estate, Cumberbatch certainly looks and sounds the part."If you want the truth, you should seek it out," says Cumberbatch in a convincing imitation of Assange's Australian accent. "That's what they're afraid of: You."
But despite its strong cast — which also includes Laura Linney, Daniel Bruhl, and Stanley Tucci — The Fifth Estate has already met with considerable controversy. Earlier this year, Assange derided the film as "a lie upon lie," calling it "a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff." In response, director Bill Condon defended the film, saying that The Fifth Estate "won't claim any long-view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment," adding that his main goal was to "enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked." Is this the hatchet-job Assange fears it will be, or has the movie successfully captured all the complexities and controversy of WikiLeaks? We'll find out when The Fifth Estate hits theaters in October.
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